If you are considering divorce, there may be a number of practical concerns holding you back, including what you might do about healthcare coverage. If you have been on your spouse’s employee benefits plan, you will probably be ineligible after your divorce. That means you have to explore available alternatives, learn how much each option might cost, and make healthcare part of your marital settlement negotiations. If you’re coming off your spouse’s plan, your options could include:
- Transitioning to your own employer’s plan — If you are employed full-time at a company that has 50 or more employees, federal law requires the company to provide healthcare coverage or pay a penalty.
- Continuing on your spouse’s plan through COBRA — The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act allows you to stay on your spouse’s plan for up to 36 months, but it’s very expensive. You will have to pay a premium, plus the cost of the employer’s contribution, plus a two percent administration fee.
- Purchase coverage through the ACA marketplace — The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA) allows Floridians to purchase healthcare coverage on the federal exchange. A divorce qualifies you to sign up outside of the open enrollment period. If you have a low income, you may be eligible for a premium subsidy. Those who do not qualify for a subsidy may have to settle for a high-premium, high-deductible policy to avoid paying a penalty at the end of the year.
- Join a healthcare cooperative — Certain healthcare co-ops are exempt from ACA regulations, so you may be able to get affordable coverage through them. However, these groups generally have strict lifestyle requirements and don’t cover all medications and procedures.
- Do without health insurance — This option is risky, because care for a serious accident or illness could easily wipe out your savings. Going without insurance may not even be cost effective if you stay healthy, because the ACA requires individuals to purchase healthcare coverage or pay a penalty. The penalty for 2016 is the greater amount of 2.5 percent of your annual income above the tax filing threshold or $695.
One thing you will not have to worry about is being denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition. So, if you are diabetic, have high blood pressure, or are a cancer survivor, an insurer cannot deny you coverage because of your condition.
Divorce can be very emotional, but a knowledgeable attorney can help you focus on practical issues such as healthcare coverage and find manageable solutions. For reliable advice on Florida divorce, consult our dedicated Tampa Bay-area family law attorneys at the Law Offices of K. Dean Kantaras, P.A.