Archive for January, 2013
When a couple marry, they almost never consider the possibility the relationship will fail. Although the statistics continue to show a high failure rate, the first flash of enthusiasm carries people through the ceremony and into the early months. During this time, all the major decisions assume the arrangements and deals they make will hold up indefinitely. One of the first early steps is merging households. It seems marriage always involves living together. If the couple both have another property, one will become the matrimonial home and the other will be sold. Two can always live more cheaply than one, goes the commonly stated justification. Bank accounts are often the next step and previously separated insurance arrangements are reevaluated. Indeed, the insurance industry encourages people to consolidate insurance policies with one insurer, offering discounts for multiple policies and bundles. While this is not necessarily so serious when it comes to auto insurance, it can spell big trouble for health insurance cover. Of course, the cover may come through a job and so long as the job is retained, cover persists. But so often the job is surrendered when the first child comes along. This pitches the wife on to her husband’s cover. Regardless whether this is through his work or private, a breakdown in the relationship gives the husband the power of decision over whether the health cover is to continue.
Research from the University of Michigan suggests about 115,000 women a year lose their private health cover because of divorce. Sometimes this is purely revenge for perceived injuries. Sometimes it’s reasonably inadvertent as a new partner is nominated to the cover or because of the terms of the employer’s plan. Just so we understand the scale of the problem, the statistics show there are about one million divorces every year and, on average, there’s a gap of not less than two years before the divorced woman is able to make alternative arrangements. This reflects the fact the woman have no right to qualify as a spouse, partner or dependent under the ex-husband’s plan, or because they do not have the income to pay the private insurance premiums. This financial situation is often made worse because many woman do not qualify for Medicaid or help from other federal and state assistance programs.
Even those who have continued in work and have their own plan through the job can find problems. The cost of reestablishing a separate household can be substantial, particularly if accommodation must be adequate to allow children to occupy. When family budgets are under strain, finding the copayments and out-of-pocket expenses for medical treatment can be too much. The only way forward for those who must now find cover through a private plan is to monitor the market by getting regular health insurance quotes. After 2014, the new insurance exchanges should make more cheap health cover available. Until then, keep getting the health insurance quotes until you find something affordable.