Keeping health insurance coverage can often be a primary reason why couples choose NOT to get divorced.  One spouse does not want to leave the other spouse high and dry with no insurance coverage, especially if the spouse has a pre-existing condition. What does the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, mean for you and your health insurance if you are considering divorce?  At Westfield Mediation, LLC, we can help you figure out your options.

Divorce is a qualifying life event which means you can enroll for health insurance once your divorce is finalized, even if it is after the Obamacare initial open enrollment period ends on March 31, 2014.  It does not matter if you have a pre-existing condition.  Through Obamacare you may not be able to keep the current health plan you have through your spouse, but you can shop for a health plan that suits you through the health exchange marketplace.  The marketplace for New Jersey is being run by the federal government.  For more information you can go to www.healthcare.gov.  

During the marriage, often a spouse is covered by his/her spouse’s employer’s insurance plan. In this case, he/she would need to find private insurance after the divorce. Many couples have chosen to stay married because post-divorce he/she cannot afford private insurance. Now with Obamacare, depending on your income, you may qualify for a subsidized plan, which could greatly reduce your premiums and give you the financial freedom and peace of mind to be able to follow through with your plans for divorce. If you do not want to change health insurance plans when you get divorced, you can always choose to keep your current plan and pay for it via COBRA.  This option is available for a maximum of 36 months.  However, COBRA tends to be very expensive because you are now responsible for the entire cost of the premium, including the piece that the employer has paid in the past.  If you choose not to have health insurance at all, then you will be charged a penalty by the IRS on the following year’s tax return.  

The changes in available health insurance may make it possible for you to make the changes you want to make in your life. 

For more information about Divorce Mediation contact Randi M. Albert, JD, or Michelle Weinberg, LMFT, at Westfield Mediation, LLC, at 908.913.0373.  View our website at www.westfieldnjmediation.com or email us at info@westfieldnjmediation.com