divorce and health insuranceHealth Insurance in Divorce

In my last blog we talked the importance of having a post divorce budget as you start negotiating with your soon-to-be-ex. It is the most important step you take in the divorce process because it helps you answer the most important question – Will I Have Enough?

Here is how you get started on your post divorce budgets. Aim for a reasonable budget, rather than “bare bones” or one with lots of discretionary stuff. You may use your current and historical spending to create your starting point, however remember that majority of your expenses will be different after divorce.

In this blog, I will specifically address your health insurance in divorce.

In my experience, the soon-to-be divorced often underestimate medical expenses when they create their budget. Look at your medical history. Do you have any chronic conditions, whether from disease or the slow and irrevocable process of aging? How many times do you visit your doctor annually? Will you have the same coverage post-divorce that you have now?  What are your co-pays, and how many prescription drugs do you take?

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. 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.

Do the same for dental care. Your budget should plan for out-of-pocket cost of routine dental visits at least twice per year.

Ditto for vision care.  Calculate your expenses and enter those that are not covered by your vision plan. Examples could include a new pair of glasses every two years, annual eye exam, and supplies.

If you or your children need (or have) orthodontia or get allergy shots, those are considered extraordinary medical expenses, and sharing such expenses needs to be covered in your divorce agreement.

You can find details and answers on how to get a smart divorce in my book The Bedroom Elephant: A Guide to Successful Divorce at http://www.amazon.com/The-Bedroom-Elephant-Successful-Divorce-ebook/dp/B00H4E61BM