Health insurance is an important concern for nearly everyone. If your coverage is part of your spouse’s employment plan, you probably don’t give it an inordinate amount of thought. Having one policy that covers your entire family is often a convenient and affordable way to go. If you are going through a divorce, however, it’s time to give your health insurance careful consideration. Your good health is closely associated with the availability of high-quality health care, and it is far too important to leave to chance. If you are facing divorce, consult with an experienced Houston divorce attorney today.
Finding health insurance that fits your needs is often a complicated process. Group plans like those typically offered by employers usually provide the most comprehensive coverage at the most reasonable rates. This is because group plans pull from a pool of participants, which helps offset both costs and risks. If you were a stay-at-home-parent throughout your marriage, you were likely covered by the health insurance plan that your spouse had through work. As soon as your divorce is finalized, however, you will no longer be eligible for such coverage, and it’s essential that you find an affordable alternative.
Your Employment Situation
If you are employed but haven’t signed on for health insurance through your employer, now may be the time. If you have this option, it is likely your best path forward. Again, employers usually have access to the best group rates and comprehensive coverage. If the business that employs you is very small, however, it may not offer insurance. Many people who find themselves going through a divorce are motivated to find employment as a means of obtaining health insurance. In other words, your divorce is likely to resonate in your life in ways you may not have even considered.
Alternative Insurance: COBRA
If you are poised to lose your health insurance with your divorce, it’s time to take matters into your own hands. Thankfully, there are mechanisms in place for dealing with such a predicament. For example, you have probably heard the term COBRA bandied about but, unless you’ve availed yourself of its coverage, may not know much about it.
COBRA refers to the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, which is a federal tool for providing insured Americans who encounter certain qualifying events – like divorce – with the ability to continue their health insurance coverage for a specific amount of time. The fact is that, while your children can likely remain on your ex’s health insurance plan, divorce automatically excludes you from that policy. COBRA allows you to continue paying for identical coverage for a maximum of three years. COBRA, however, involves filing extensive forms in a timely manner, and the cost can be prohibitive. Finally, COBRA is a temporary fix that you will need to ultimately replace with long-term coverage.
The Affordable Care Act
Another option is purchasing health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA is also known as Obama Care, and it is a means of purchasing individual health insurance through a program that is managed by the federal government. In broad terms, the ACA is managed primarily through a U.S. government exchange that implements a rigid enrollment timeframe. There are, however, exceptions to this enrollment period, and one such exception is divorce. When you obtain insurance through the ACA, you can choose your coverage (within your state’s offerings), and the price is predicated on your income level. It’s important to recognize, however, that you must reapply for coverage under the ACA each year within the designated enrollment period and that the ACA is under constant political scrutiny and could be subject to change.
My Ex Intends to Cover Me
Many divorcing spouses naively believe that their soon-to-be ex will continue to cover their children and their own health insurance enrollment. And your divorcing spouse may have every intention of doing this. The fact is, however, that – while in all likelihood, your ex can keep your shared children on his or her policy – the same does not necessarily apply to you. That is not how insurance companies operate. Insurance companies are in the business of generating revenue, and that includes excising unnecessary costs like covering nonfamily members. When it comes to something as critical as your health insurance coverage, it is essential that you understand the basics and seek alternative coverage if your current policy will end when your divorce is finalized.
While Your Divorce Is Pending
Most counties in Texas have standing orders in place that are automatically implemented when a divorce case is filed and the opposing party has been served. These standing orders are put in place to help prevent a vindictive spouse from canceling or otherwise altering the opposing party’s health insurance coverage. While these standing orders are legally binding, violations aren’t uncommon.
It must be said that divorce can drive otherwise sensible people to engage in nonsensically petty behavior, and secretly altering an insurance policy is one such example. While these standing orders are put in place to protect your health insurance coverage, enforcing them upon a spouse who is determined to ignore them is both expensive and time-consuming. If your divorcing spouse does take your insurance coverage into his or her own hands – in blatant disregard of standing orders – it can also be difficult to make the insurance company cooperate with the standing orders.
Every divorce is as unique as the individuals and circumstances involved. If your health insurance comes through your spouse’s employer, it’s important to address the issue with an experienced Houston Divorce attorney immediately. Having continuous healthcare coverage is essential to your ongoing health and well-being.
Consult with an Experienced Houston Divorce Attorney Regarding Your Continued Health Insurance Coverage
The dedicated divorce lawyers at the Rudisel Law Firm, P.C. in Houston understand your health insurance concerns and are here to help. Our experienced legal team has the knowledge and ability to skillfully guide your case toward its most beneficial resolution. To schedule a free consultation, contact or call us at 713-781-7775 today.