A divorce is very tough for all parties involved. In addition to the emotional turmoil, the financial aspects of formerly joint accounts must also be dealt with. Health coverage comes into play because in the majority of cases, one spouse is covered by the other’s policy. Whether that is because dependent status is less expensive or comes with more generous benefits than their employer’s policy, their employer does not offer health insurance, or they are a stay-at-home spouse; it is an issue that must be dealt with.
Many lawyers and other experts recommend that medical insurance be included in the divorce negotiations and settlement, because the costs can be significant. If you have any children, you must decide on which parent will claim them on their health insurance policy.
Some people with amicable divorces choose to keep their spouses on their insurance policy, even after their divorce is final. However, that is against the regulations of most employer-based health insurance plans. In order to save money, companies are increasingly investigating potential fraud–such as claiming ineligible dependents. Although there are usually no major financial or criminal penalties involved, it is not smart to rely on your ex-spouse’s insurance.
More realistic options for affordable health insurance include your own employer’s plan. The good news is that open enrollment periods are coming up soon. Most companies offer several plans, with a variety of premiums, deductibles, and benefit levels. Remember that you may end up having more out-of-pocket costs than you were accustomed to. If your firm’s open enrollment period is several months away, you can buy temporary health insurance to fill in the gaps.
What if you do not have health coverage from your employer? Individual health insurance is available. It is essential that you shop around for the best plan for your needs. If you were a stay-at-home spouse, the cost of the premium can be negotiated during the divorce proceedings as part of your alimony payments.