Healthy Post Divorce (5th in the “Post D – as in Divorce – Day” Series)

Sandy Balick of www.Consensus Point Mediation, LLC (www.consensuspointmediation.com) explains all you should consider when choosing health insurance outside out of an employer-paid or subsidized policy.An important means of achieving financial security is through insurance, with health care topping the list. If you have an employer-paid or subsidized policy, consider yourself lucky. Many newly divorced individuals, finding themselves out from under the protection of the former spouse’s coverage, discover just how expensive basic health coverage can be.

If you find yourself in this position, check and see if you might qualify for a group plan by virtue of your membership in a professional group or trade association. Their rates may not strike you as a bargain but may reflect a significant discount over individual policies purchased directly through an insurer or broker.

The advent of state health care insurance marketplaces (exchanges) under the Affordable Care (a/k/a Obamacare) Act may provide some relief. The phrase “health care marketplace” conjures up a vision of a sunny market square, colorful umbrellas and happy crowds. The reality will be closer to late night hours spent analyzing the offering specifics of competing plans.

Still, the goal is to provide options that fit individual budget constraints. These options are not fully developed (they are to be offered starting in 2014) but existing policy options already range from physician care policies without much surgical or hospital protection but with low deductibles/co-pays, to high deductible policies that may or may not offer both in and out-of-network coverage. Keep in mind that deductibles may range between $1,500 and $3,000 (or more) depending upon the individual plan. For those unable to afford even the most basic coverages, there will be subsidies available.

If you live in New York where this blog is written, in 2000 the state created “Healthy New York” to help make health coverage available to individuals and sole proprietors. Through a variety of insurance carriers the plan makes high deductible policies available at favorable rates (relatively speaking). Many will find themselves challenged, falling above thresholds for low cost insurance and having to choose between various levels of coverage and significant deductibles. For the self-employed it may also be worth looking into the insurance offerings available to members of the Freelancers Union. You can find out more at: http://www.freelancersunion.org

Whether seeking coverage directly from insurers or brokers, online and otherwise, be very careful: not all plans are created alike. Some brokers resort to high pressure tactics and will try and sell policies on the basis of scant but appealing sounding details, via phone. Insist on getting a plan description BEFORE signing on for any coverage and always ask to see if your primary care and other physicians are in the plan and whether the plan includes any out-of-network coverage. Very low cost plans may offer little or no hospitalization coverage.

Next time: property and liability protection.

Feel free to ask any questions, to comment, or to request more information in the Comments Box below. Also, please feel free to forward this blog to anyone you know who might be interested in its topic.

Sanford (Sandy) Balick, Attorney & Mediator in New York Sandy Balick signature
Sanford E. Balick, Esq.
Founder & Principal Mediator
Consensus Point Mediation, LLC.

Phone: (646) 340-3434
Email: ConsensusPointLLC@gmail.com
www.ConsensusPointmediation.com
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One Response to Healthy Post Divorce (5th in the “Post D – as in Divorce – Day” Series)

  • Sandy,

    Great article! I think my clients will love to have a copy of your article when they are looking for information, about health insurance, as well as when they are purchasing it.

    thanks,
    Kathy

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