Kathryn Thompson is an Individual Health Benefits Consultant with Senn Dunn Insurance. She has 10 years experience in the healthcare industry and specializes in finding the perfect solution for individual health, dental and supplemental Medicare coverage for her clients.
Her extensive knowledge and experience in employee benefits allow her to design affordable options for children, families, singles and seniors. She provides a compassionate and listening ear to individuals who are sometimes finding coverage ‘on their own’ for the first time. She is a devoted community and church volunteer. Kathryn can be contacted directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AZ asks: What is the best way to have medical coverage after a divorce if I need to cover myself and kids and do not work full-time?
I suggest having a complete health insurance overview before any legal documents are signed. Health insurance coverage is often addressed in separation agreements. A licensed health insurance agent will work with you at no cost to help compare your options and choose a suitable coverage.There are good choices through private insurance companies. If you were previously covered under a spouse’s plan at work, COBRA or State Continuation will be considered, too.
AZ asks: How do you compare and analyze coverage for a medical policy to pick the right one for you?
Everyone’s needs are different. General information is available at www.healthcare.gov and your health insurance agent is also a great resource.
AZ asks: If I need to pay a monthly payment that is as low as possible, what is the largest deductible that would make sense?
Deductibles range from $1,000 to $20,000 per calendar year. Your financial situation will be a key factor in choosing a deductible amount. You need to be sure that you’re financially prepared for the worst case scenario before trading a low premium for a higher deductible!
AZ asks: Do you have any suggestions to make receiving medical reimbursements easier?
Premium payments and other expenses can be considered as part of your separation agreement. If chosen, High Deductible Health Plans (also known as HSA plans), can be paired with tax-advantaged health savings accounts. Most of these plans are very competitively priced. Maximum annual funding of the health savings account is regulated by the IRS, but you can contribute a lower amount, too. This allows you to pay for qualified expenses with tax-free funds. These accounts can accrue year after year; there is no ‘use it or lose it’ restriction on health savings accounts. Qualified expenses and more information can be found at www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p969.pdf.
AZ asks: When will Medicare coverage be available to me?
Most people are eligible for Medicare coverage (Parts A and B) on the first day of the month they reach their 65th birthday. Medicare health coverage can be elected even if Social Security benefits are deferred. Medicare Part D drug coverage is available separately. Medicare Supplemental coverage is important, too. Supplements cover out-of-pocket expenses associated with your Medicare policy such as deductibles, copayments and coinsurance.
The Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program ‘SHIIP’ is a terrific no-cost resource in North Carolina for Medicare questions, concerns and counseling. It is part of the NC Department of Insurance. More information is available at www.shiip.com or by calling 1.800.443.9354.
AZ asks: What is COBRA and how long does it last?
COBRA stands for ‘Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985’. It is a Federal law that, among other things, may allow you to temporarily keep group health insurance if you lose coverage as a dependent of a covered employee.
COBRA (employers with 20 or more employees) is usually available for 36 months if coverage is lost due to divorce. If the health coverage is provided by a smaller group, it is called State Continuation. State Continuation (employers with less than 20 employees) is usually available for 18 months if coverage is lost due to divorce.
Kathryn Thompson is not affiliated with LPL Financial.