“What are the medical insurance options available to a divorcing woman as she faces divorce?”
Patricia Barrett CFP® CDFA™, in Houston Texas answers:
Medical insurance is a very important issue for the recently divorced woman. Sometimes she has been a stay at home mom who has depended on coverage through her husband’s employer. Here are her options:
1) Assuming she secures fulltime employment and can secure group coverage, this is by far the most economical since the company is going to subsidize the cost, usually paying 2/3 to ¾ of the cost. Average cost $150/month with low co-pays.
2) If she is retraining for months, doesn’t wish to secure a fulltime job or isn’t able to work fulltime, AND if she’s in very good health, her next most economical choice is individual coverage. Insurance companies are VERY picky about “preexisting” conditions (at least until 2014 when the health care legislation changes this). Cost on average $300 per month, with a rather high deductible and no low co-pays.
3) IF she has preexisting conditions and isn’t taking a fulltime job, and IF her husband works for a company with more than 20 employees, she is entitled to COBRA for up to 36 months. But, the company doesn’t subsidize cost and can add up to 5% administrative fee. One good thing is that her old coverage continues, just without any subsidy from the employer. Estimated cost will be between $350 and $600 per month.
4) The last resort in Texas is the “Texas health insurance Risk Pool”. Premiums are based on age, zip code, amount of deductible and smoker/non-smoker. Preexisting conditions don’t matter. Costs are from $400 to $1000 per month. Other states are now required to have a similar policy available, effective 9/23/10. To find out policies available in your state, go to the following website and click on your own state: