Getting a divorce brings a new type of change to your everyday life. For some people this change is wanted, yet for others, it is unexpected and heartbreaking. For all of us though, it is a change, requiring one to revisit all aspects of one’s financial planning and security. In this article I will address the aspect of your health, life and long term care insurance.
Being an insurance agent, personally speaking about the emotional hardships of a divorce, requires a psychologist and psychotherapist, who are much better equipped to do this. However being an insurance agent, having gone through a divorce myself, I can assist you with critical financial aspects you should consider during your divorce filings.
The first aspect I want to talk about is your health insurance.
Ask yourself how do you like your current health insurance, and are you covered under the group insurance of your soon-to-be divorced partner? Who is paying your current health insurance? Once your divorce is final, you will lose the health insurance that you and your partner previously had. You will have 60 days during the so called Special Enrollment Period to elect a new health plan, either staying on Cobra which mostly cost more than electing an individual health insurance plan, either via the market exchange, here in California, Covered California, or outside the exchange, directly with the insurance carriers. Solid Health Insurance Services will assist you in the election process which health plans fits best for your needs and help you with the application process.
Make a point in your divorce negotiations that your health care insurance needs are taken care of. Health Insurance costs for a 60 year old are very expensive. They are around $800-$1200 a month, almost as high as a property mortgage. If you expect to have the same health benefits from your current health insurance, get the Summary of Benefits and obtain a quote on the individual insurance market with similar benefits. Solid Health Insurance Services will assist you in finding a health plan which is affordable and fits your health plan needs. It also makes sense to gather a quote for a person who is 10 years older, so that you have an idea and estimate as to what to expect for your future health care budget. When discussing your needed funds, this might be a useful tool to negotiate into your divorce agreement.
In case you are close to having been married for 10 years and start to consider divorce, be advised you can only obtain the social security benefits of your spouse and with that the medicare benefits, when you have been married 10 years. This might be a critical information for the stay-at home mom or dad.
If your income will be reduced due to the divorce, you might be able to obtain a subsidy over the state exchange in California through Covered California. I am a licensed agent with Covered California and help you to navigate their system, their health plan choices and will guide you through their application process. Please be advised that the “interim” situation married filing separately is highly undesirable – under ACA laws, you are not able to receive subsidies with that tax filing status .
When it comes to children, make sure to negotiate that the children will receive a Platinum or Gold level health plan. The cost difference between Silver and Platinum is sometimes only $50. Often children who are going through a divorce will need often the support of a psychologist and therapist to help them through the transition. Having your children on a good health plan will eliminate the stress for all parties involved, as their medical needs will be well taken care of.
The next aspect to review is your personal life insurance needs:
If you have life insurance in place, make sure to review the beneficiary and make the necessary changes. Many divorcees have no life insurance in place, and an affordable term insurance can give your new family situation peace of mind. When you have children, you want to make sure that they can finish their education and that they are settled, should the unexpected happened. A whole life or universal life insurance are excellent vehicles towards saving for retirement, and possibly provide you with tax free income in your retirement age.
Furthermore, review your Long Term Care insurance – do you have one already in place? If so, inform the company that you are getting divorced. If you don’t have Long Term Care Insurance and are in your Mid 50’s, you might want to consider obtaining a basic plan, as your partner you counted on is not there anymore , and most likely you do not want to be a burden on your children. Especially for females, the cost of Long Term Care is higher than the one for males. Making a point to obtain Long Term Care when you are healthy is the best option, as the underwriting process is difficult. During a divorce many parties take antidepressants – something which will be seen as negative in the underwriting process for life and long term care insurance.
Another critical aspect is to review your will . Make sure you change the beneficiary and make sure that you have a trustee elected in case your children are underage.
I hope this information is helpful and please do not hesitate to contact us at Solid Health Insurance Service, for an independent quote for your health, life and long term care insurance.