Consider health insurance in spousal support negotiations

On behalf of Jeffrey N. Greenblatt of Joseph, Greenwald & Laake, PA posted in Divorce on Wednesday, February 20, 2013.

People in the D.C. area know a lot about health care today, and know that it can be a serious out-of-pocket or monthly expense to pay for medical needs and health insurance. It's also an extremely important subject to consider for women thinking about divorce.

A recent study has shown that roughly 115,000 women lose their health insurance each year because of a divorce, and more than half of those women remain uninsured for months or even years after the end of their marriage. This could leave women vulnerable to exorbitant medical costs, which can be impossible to pay without insurance.

On the other hand, private insurance can expensive too, and many divorced women simply cannot afford it. In fact, it's predominant ly middle-class women, especially in the age range of 50-64, who lose their health insurance after a divorce. The problem is that they may make too much to qualify for Medicaid, but still not enough to afford their own private insurance premiums.

Many women are dependent upon their spouse's health insurance, and after a divorce, their options may be limited. There's the COBRA plan, but not everyone is eligible or able to pay the costs for COBRA. Many employers simply don't offer affordable insurance, and private insurance can be impossible to obtain for at-risk and older individuals.

For these reasons, it's important to consider health insurance options well before signing the divorce papers. Health insurance should factor into property division and spousal support negotiations because it can mean a major increase in expenses. Depending on the individual situation, this cost could add up tens of thousands of dollars over the years after a divorce.

Women who rely on their soon-to-be-ex's health insurance should not hesitate to propose a spousal support payment that will meet their health insurance needs in the years to come. A legal professional can help ensure this and many other needs are taken into account during divorce settlement negotiations.

Source: Fox Business "Ladies: Protect Your Health Insurance During Divorce," by Barbara Marquand, February 7, 2013