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Getting Divorced? Don’t Forget Your Health Insurance

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No one wants to think about divorce, but with four in ten marriages ending that way, it’s important to consider the consequences of an irrevocable break-up. While the end of a marriage is certainly devastating from an emotional perspective, it can also be detrimental from a financial one. Joint accounts can get split, financial plans become torn up and assets have to be divided. Health insurance is an important asset to consider during these difficult times. It plays a vital role in protecting you and your family’s health and financial stability.

Make sure you know about your health insurance

Frequently, one spouse is less aware of financial details and arrangements, but both individuals need to have an accurate picture of their economic situation.

Firstly, it is important to understand that provincial and territorial health plans cover basic healthcare needs, but health insurance helps you to pay for services that aren’t covered, such as special nursing services, ambulance services, wheelchairs and other durable equipment and dental health costs.

Here are important aspects of your health insurance to review after you separate:

  • Who owns it
    Your health insurance policy covers you if the policy is in your name. You may need to get your own medical and dental coverage if you were covered by your former partner’s insurance policy.
  • What does it cover
    Does it cover health and dental costs? How many days of travel are covered? Is there a deductible? What are the plan maximums?
  • Who is covered by it
    If you have children, your plan and your former partner’s should provide family coverage.

Before buying additional health insurance, check your employer’s benefits plan to make sure that you don’t buy coverage you already have. For example, you may already have coverage for glasses or dental work through your employer’s plan.

If you had coverage under both your group plan and your ex’s, you may lose additional benefits that you had depended on to top up your existing group coverage. Consider purchasing an individual health insurance plan to shore up your insurance needs.

Make any personal or information plan changes you need

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Make sure you update all your personal information on your insurance policy, including any address or name changes.

If your former partner is no longer to be covered under your plan, you must notify your insurer within 30 days of the date of the change of status.

Some health insurance plans allow continuation of coverage for a divorced co-insured or dependent children. An application for continuation must be submitted to the insurer within 30 days of the change in status.

Your health insurance may include accidental death coverage. Update your beneficiary (the person who will get a payment from your insurance after you die) if you have designated one.

Don’t forget your payments

It’s easy to get caught up in the divorce process and forget that you have regular insurance bills to pay. Falling behind on these will only complicate an already difficult time.

If you have closed your joint accounts and opened an individual account, or cancelled joint credit cards, notify your insurer of any changes that affect your premium payments immediately.

Also, your insurance premiums may change based on adjustments you have made to persons covered under the policy.

Take it step by step

Be sure to revise your protection plan to your changed needs and to ensure that you have important health insurance coverage when you need it. Call your team at SBIS to help make your transition plans as smooth as possible.

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