Affordable Care Act: when to go to the exchange, after divorce

If current medical coverage is provided as part of spouses retirement package until November of 2014 and a divorce is granted in October, when will I need to apply for marketplace insurance for myself?  I’m three years away from getting Medicare.

Hoosier Stater

Dear Hoosier Stater,

You should look at your options now for a November 1st start date, though you may decide to join later.  Based upon getting divorced in October, you would receive a COBRA offer (if the plan is required to offer COBRA) in October.  So, it’s possible that your coverage under the retiree plan would last longer than the November end date.  However, your options on the exchange are likely to be cheaper than the COBRA coverage.  When I say cheaper, I mean the month-to-month bill paid to the plan.  The exchange plans may have higher co-pays and deductibles than the plan you are leaving.

You have a tricky situation too on reporting your income, which will be the basis of how much you get in subsidies to pay for your new plan.  Your subsidy for 2014 is based upon your 2014 household income; household would include your spouse.  Your divorce attorney or an accountant could advise you on the best way for you to file taxes for 2014, so that you get the subsidies that are appropriate for you.  Your future health insurance costs could also be part of your divorce settlement.

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Linda Riddell

About Linda Riddell

A published author and health policy analyst with 25 years’ experience, Linda Riddell's goal is to alleviate the widespread ailment of not knowing what your health plan can do for you.