Healthcare with Maura Carley
With Obama Care, there are now windows of time in which anyone can register for healthcare through the State or Federal Exchange. Based on your income, you may even qualify for subsidization. This window is typically limited to 6-weeks a year. However, divorce is considered a qualifier for “special enrollment”, which means you can enroll outside of the normal window by submitting a copy of your notarized divorce decree.
In the short term, you may be eligible for COBRA. COBRA is temporary coverage, at your expense, while you are transitioning. Here again, divorce is a “qualifying event” and you could get an extra 36-months of coverage through your employer, or your ex-spouses employer. COBRA has a reputation for being pricey, but that’s not necessarily true. The premiums are based on what the group was paying at the company. The employer will notify you of your eligibility and you will have 60 days of getting divorced to enroll in this coverage. If you don’t, you are out of luck and subject to the State Exchange.
Within those 60 days after getting divorced, you also have the option of going into the individual market and picking a private provider. But it gets complicated. There are multiple plans available from multiple providers.
If you don’t have the COBRA option or the private network, the last option is the Exchange, or Obama Care. Divorce gives you the ability to enroll any time for coverage under the “special enrollment” condition.
There are a lot of choices to make when picking a plan including the doctors in network, the deductibles, the emergency room coverage, prescription coverage, and more. A healthcare advocate or broker can help you pick a plan that works for you and interpret the options. That will cost you a fee, but it may save you money in the long run, especially given that you are likely to lock in the plan for multiple years.
In general, know that the healthcare system is harsh and there are limited windows of opportunity. NEVER miss a premium or pay the wrong amount. Providers are unforgiving and will kick you off for the slightest error.
If you’re still confused like we were, some great resources are: eHealth Information, the individual provider websites, and the State Insurance Department will have information. And if you’ve watched our videos on stress, you know how important it is to have HEALTH coverage during a divorce.