Health Insurance and Divorce

Understanding how to navigate health insurance and divorce is critical. Health insurance costs are astronomical  and the process of selecting the right coverage can be confusing and complicated for anyone. Now throw into the mix getting a divorce and having to afford coverage on a smaller income. Here are the tips to help you navigate health insurance and divorce, and help you make decisions around health insurance.

It is a general rule that when you divorce you will not be able to stay on your spouse’s policy as a dependent and will have to secure your own coverage. However, in a case of legal separation (not a divorce), some insurance providers will allow you to stay on the same policy as a dependent, although it is not guaranteed. Make sure you check with your insurer.

You will automatically qualify to remain covered under your spouse’s plan under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) for 18-36 months. But most of the time it’s cheaper to obtain your own individual plan. So contact a health insurance agent and get quotes.

Research individual plans.

Check if the new plan will allow you to keep the same medical providers, if this is important to you.

Understand the total estimated annual cost, not just the premiums. This includes the plan’s deductible and copays. HealthCare.gov has lots of useful information on how to select the right coverage and even estimate total annual costs.

Know your medical history. In my experience, the soon-to-be divorced often underestimate medical expenses. Look at your medical history. Do you have any chronic conditions? How many times do you visit your doctor annually? Know your prescriptions.

Call the insurer and find out if your prescriptions would be covered and what your out of pocket costs are.

Denisa Tova MBA, CFP, CDFA is a Mediator and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst.