Who would have thought to add in “get check ups for me and the kids” onto my long list of divorce checklist items? Michelle Jacobik
But boy do I wish I had!
Just 2 short months after my divorce, I finally had the time to get to the chiropractor. I had been walking around for months with lower back pain but literally had no time to address it.
My chiropractor ordered an MRI because this had been an ongoing issue for quite awhile and it was more than what my normal lower back pain was. Within a week, my MRI came back showing I had 3 nodules on my thyroid. My thyroid? Had nothing to do with my back but became the focus of the next few weeks.
Within days of those results being reported to my primary care physician, I was sent for an ultrasound.
Within a week, I found myself fearing what every human fears. CANCER
As I was waiting for the results of my biopsy over that next week, it occurred to me that this was a huge deal. Not just on the medical side but on the financial side.
What If It WAS Cancer?
Shit, did he pay my disability insurance bill that we had started 8 years ago?
And to top it off, here I was newly divorced and with a new health insurance plan with a whopping $7500 deductible.
Yes, a $7500 deductible!
That was the only option I could afford to keep my premiums under $600 for myself and the two kids.
I surely was going to be burning right through that deductible and the bills for these exploratory procedures would be showing up in my mailbox in the next few weeks.
ALL of them reminding me that I may have failed to THINK and LOOK more deeply in this area of my divorce.
Why had I not taken the time to get checked?
Why didn’t I think about the fact that this (or any slightly elevated medical event) could potentially crush my ‘carefully negotiated’ remaining savings account in just the first six months of signing those final divorce papers.
Luckily for me, my results came back negative and the nodules were just nodules.
But, the cost to me (other than the emotional one) was $7476.39. My first post-divorce nightmare!
What would I tell women to consider?
CONSIDER YOUR HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE
If you are covered under your spouse’s plan, get complete medical and dental check ups for you and the children. It is important to have any necessary procedures done now while you are covered.
Also if there are children, be sure to consider who will be covering the children on their plan and review the plan details so you are aware of what your share of the responsibility will be for their future medical/dental/vision expenses.
Is this an area that you should be negotiating a little heavier?
If you make less income than the co-parent, negotiating how the ‘split’ will occur on unpaid medical bills or vision/contacts or the big one, Braces for 3 kids will be covered.
I wish I had thought more into the future around this area for sure.
I would have been certain in my ‘divorce fog’ to get myself and the kids to the eye doctor, dentist, pediatrician for any checkups you I had been putting off because I just had too much on my plate to manage any more.
If you are currently on your spouse’s plan, begin looking into your own plan coverage early.
If you work outside the home, find out what benefits are available for you to purchase through your employer.
While Group Health Insurance plans have one open enrollment each year, a life event like divorce allows an employee to come into the plan ‘mid-term’ if they are losing coverage.
You will want to find out what will your cost be?
What are your plan design options?
What are the varying Deductibles and which combination works best for you? (consider my story above!)
Ask what the plan’s ‘calendar year” is.
ALERTWhile you may divorce on 9/18 and have coverage through 9/30 under your spouse’s plan, your employer may bring you on 10/1 but the plan deductible may RESET again January 1
This is very important from a financial perspective because…
Any and all monies that you put out towards the deductible from 10/1-12/31 would be ‘lost’ and reset again 1/1.
Is your plan an HSA?
How does it work?
Is it possible to have the funding of an HSA/FSA funded or negotiated as part of the divorce agreement?
Have more questions?
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