Author Topic: Navigating ACA and health insurance while getting divorced  (Read 570 times)

RumBurgundy

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Navigating ACA and health insurance while getting divorced
« on: October 26, 2018, 09:14:08 PM »
Currently in the middle of a 12 month waiting period to finalize a divorce in Louisiana.
Since there is not a "legally separated" status in this state, my spouse and I can not be considered two separate households for insurance purposes until that waiting period is up (circa May 2019).
We have been on a subsidized ACA for several years due to my self employed income of ~20k/yr and my spouse's part time salary of ~$8k/yr.
My spouse just began a full time position bumping her income up to $34k/yr, and she has employer offered health insurance which takes effect November 1.
Due to the 'family glitch' myself and our son will no longer be eligible for Marketplace subsidies but I presume that will change once the divorce is final and we'll split our income between two households.

I talked with a broker today to confirm some of the above details. She suggested I get on a short term health plan since I'm mid 30s and healthy with no pre-existing conditions. My son also has no major health issues to note and could possibly get on a short term plan with me although he would have better benefits on my spouse's employer plan.

The broker was recommended to me by a friend of a friend and I later saw in her email signature that she's a Dave Ramsey ELP which made sense after she was rather disparaging of both Medicaid and Obamacare when talking about my options even though my spouse and I have been satisfied with both for the last few years. The plans the broker sent me to consider have either $5k or $2.5k deductibles per person, with either 50% or 20% coinsurance afterward. Those plans range from $100/mo to $168/mo depending on deductible/coinsurance is selected.

My questions are:
1) Since I am healthy, should I just take the risk and use the short term plan as a stop gap until my divorce is final?
2) If I get on one of these short term plans (or join an off-exchange plan) will I be able to qualify for Marketplace subsidies by using a special enrollment period when the divorce is final? My concern here is that I won't technically "lose" my non-Marketplace insurance without canceling it myself.
3) I think it makes the most sense for my spouse to put our son on her employer plan until the divorce is final and then our son would be considered part of my household for insurance purposes to get him back on Medicaid (my spouse wants to be the custodial parent but would give me the dependent tax exemption using form 8332). But would my son be eligible to be on my plan if he had had insurance through my spouse's employer plan? Or does the life event of divorce give us that opportunity to jump him over to my plan?
4) Finally, is there a recommended site for shopping off exchange?

StetsTerhune

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Re: Navigating ACA and health insurance while getting divorced
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2018, 06:15:11 AM »
I can't speak to 3&4, but Ive done quite a bit of research on ACA plans in the last few years.

1. Its hard to know, but if you have no real assets to protect and no pre existing conditions, It's not crazy to do a short term plan. Read the specific policy VERY carefully, and see if there's any deal breakers. You don't mention anything about why you don't go on your wife's employer plan though? It seems like that would be the best option.
2. Yes, I'm fairly certain that the special enrollment is based purely on losing eligiblity to your wife's plan, and it won't matter if you have something else or not.

RumBurgundy

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Re: Navigating ACA and health insurance while getting divorced
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2018, 02:44:42 PM »
You don't mention anything about why you don't go on your wife's employer plan though? It seems like that would be the best option.

That would be a possibility but for our relationship being tense at the moment, I haven't felt it inappropriate to ask. I haven't seen the benefits offered either, which I'd need to compare to the short term plans.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2018, 05:07:30 PM by RumBurgundy »