Whether you are thinking about getting a divorce or already deep in the process, health insurance may not be on the forefront of your mind. While this may seem like a minor detail in the face of child custody or property division concerns, losing your existing health insurance coverage can create several financial problems in the years following a divorce. In light of recent news of potential health care policy changes, your attorney should ensure that you and your children remain covered post-divorce regardless of any future change in the law or administration.
For many couples, there is one spouse who is the main policyholder and covers everyone in the family. Luckily, in most cases, insurance companies have a grace period after a divorce to allow spouses to find new coverage under separate policies. But what happens when that grace period runs out? It is estimated that 25% of women going through a divorce will lose their health insurance coverage and be without it for a long time because they no longer qualify as a dependent on their husband’s benefits. Going without health insurance is always risky especially since people sometimes experience poor health after their divorce is finalized. This could lead to a huge financial loss when you are least able to absorb the cost of finding new coverage.
There has been major resistance to the planned healthcare reform by the Trump administration. This proposed regulation would remove the current ban on gender and age policy discrimination put in place by the Affordable Care Act. Without this ban, associations would have the right to base rates on gender, age, and industry of the employees. As a result, organizations with a lot of younger men will pay less, leaving firms with many older workers and women to pay higher premiums. Before the ACA was in place, a woman’s health insurance premium could be as high as 1.5 times more than a man’s.
Middle-income women are most vulnerable for becoming and staying uninsured post-divorce. Often, they are not eligible for government health care coverage like Medicaid but do not have the funds to obtain their own private insurance through COBRA. And with this possible policy reform, taking on any new insurance plan could be extremely costly. After a divorce, protecting your health and wellness is very important, especially if you’re not a single parent. Going without health insurance for any period of time is too risky, given the high cost of medical care. Even routine well-care can be prohibitively expensive, and if you get seriously ill or injured without insurance coverage, the damage to your financial situation could be catastrophic.
The solution is to make sure your negotiated divorce agreement addresses health care costs and is captured in the final settlement. The cost of obtaining or continuing health care coverage should be included in the budgeting process, to give a clear picture of all projected expenses. It is also important to plan for any additional coverage you may need after divorce. Some women consider counseling coverage for themselves or their children during the tough transitional time, for example. An experienced divorce attorney will ensure that your divorce agreement maintains current and future insurance protection for you and your children. Once a Texas divorce is final, all parties will be bound to the provisions contained within those final documents.