Monthly Archives: October 2017

Divorce and Health Insurance Benefits

Divorce causes major issues with health insurance benefits. Many families have employer provided and/or paid for health insurance benefits that cover the entire family. It is not uncommon to see situations where the other spouse is a stay at home parent, with absolutely no access to health insurance benefits, or employed at a job with either no health insurance benefits available or those benefits available at a substantial cost. After a divorce, the spouse with the family health insurance coverage can no longer cover the other parent. They are no longer “family” members who can take advantage of one health insurance policy. How to then ensure that everyone stays insured does become an issue for negotiation and/or divorce litigation.

If both parties do not have health insurance benefits available and if the cost of obtaining those health insurance benefits for the other party after a divorce become prohibitive, there is one way to continue benefits without additional cost. That way is to enter into a separation agreement, but delay the divorce. That way, the parties actually do remain married and they can stay on the same health insurance plan even thought they are separed. The parties can consent to waiting for one, two or more years before either one files for a divorce. While the parties will remain married, their property, custody, and support issues will be addressed in their separation agreement. Under some circumstances, this is an optimal resolution. For example, what if both parties want one spouse to remain at home for several more years with young children, but they do still want to separate and divorce? This option works for them. They can separate, agree upon getting a divorce and all of the terms that they have to agree upon, but delay the final divorce so that they can keep cost effective health insurance benefits in place.

The above example can provide some difficulties that must be discusse in detail with your divorce attorney. For example, if you separate but do not divorce, your federal tax filing status may be affected. Also, in some states, it is not as easy as in other states to enforce a separation agreement. Or, in yet other states, it is possible for one spouse to take the advantages provided by the agreement for a year or two and then go to court and seek entirley different forms of financial relief in a divorce action. Only a divorce attorney licensed to practice in your state can advise you on these issues.

Another option for couples divorce is COBRA coverage. COBRA is a federal law which mandates that a person covered under a health insurance policy be given the right to continue that coverage, at their own cost, for a set time period if certain requirements exist. For example, if you obtain a divorce and your spouse had family health insurance coverage through his employer, the employer would have to provide COBRA coverage for you after the divorce. That COBRA coverage would require that you have the same health insurance policy, although your coverage would now be individual and not family. You would have to pay the employer’s cost for that individual policy.

It is not uncommon for a stay at home spouse or a spouse who has less income or employment options to obtain COBRA coverage and to negotiate that their spouse pay for that coverage for a specified time period after the divorce. In doing so, this gives the spouse who did not have coverage available some time to either obtain employment with coverage or become financially settled and able to afford their own coverage.

Discount Vitamins and Nutrition Products Offer Equal Health Benefits

When it comes to discount vitamins and nutrition products, the old adage, “You get what you pay for,” simply doesn’t hold true. Many retail outlets and websites tout overpriced products that promise the moon and don’t deliver. The results you obtain from high quality discount vitamins and nutrition products are as sound as those you get from higher priced products.

Here are a few examples:

Multi-Vitamins – Although some people like taking an assortment of specific vitamins, many more prefer the convenience of a multiple vitamin supplement. Different brands of vitamins – and different multi-vitamins within a given brand – contain different formulations, so it’s important to look at the labels rather than the price tags.

A general multi-vitamin is appropriate for most adults, although special formulations tailored to specific groups of people are available for women, for men, for older adults, and for those who are engaged in sports or other very active lifestyles.

When choosing discount vitamins, look for those that offer multiple sources of nutrients and natural sources of trace minerals and micronutrients. Each person’s ability to absorb nutrients is unique, so multiple sources ensure that virtually everyone can benefit.

Acidophilus Powder – Acidophilus powder is a somewhat generic term for a group of dietary supplements that are probiotics. Probiotics are microorganisms that help the body’s own beneficial bacterium and yeasts. Acidophilus powder and capsules/tablets are available in both regular formulations and those specialized for women, vegetarians, and so forth. As with discount vitamins, you can find online sources of acidophilus powder at steeply discounted prices.

St John’s Wort – Everyone from ancient Greeks to modern-day medical professionals have explored the benefits of St John’s Wort. Found to affect the levels of serotonin in the brain, the herbal supplement can improve mild depression, help balance mood swings, and help with sleep problems. Some nutritional products include complementary formulas (such as anti-oxidants) that can also enhance well-being.

Fat Burners and Weight Loss Aids: Some companies that sell the best fat burners charge premium prices, but there’s no reason for you to pay high retail prices when you can buy the same products at deep discounts. Said to stimulate the body’s ability to metabolize fat, the best fat burners contain no ephedrine. HydroxyCut, a popular weight loss supplement said to increase your energy, burn calories, and control appetite, is but one example of a brand name product that can be found online at a steep discount over retail prices. Similarly, you can find a carb blocker through an Internet health and body source at a fraction of the price you would pay at a retailer.

Sports Nutrition: Sports nutrition is big business, but that doesn’t mean that you need to spend big bucks for protein powders, health shakes, muscle formulas, and nutrition bars. Again, you can get a wide variety of high quality, brand name products at the same place where you buy your discount vitamins.

Of course, prices aren’t everything. When you select your online source of discount vitamins, be sure that it also offers expert advice, perhaps in the form of a free weekly newsletter. Look for writing that reflects the knowledge base of the site’s owners. Insightful advice gleaned by trial and error is more valuable that the stale reiterations found on many health websites.

Dipping into your State Health Insurance Pool – What Are The Requirements?

State health insurance is a branch of health insurance that is for high-risk individuals with chronic and/or pre-existing conditions. Most common diseases to see on this type of insurance are HIV, AIDS, kidney disease, obesity, and diabetes. This high-risk pool is designed to act as a safety net to offer some form of insurance to these people but for a hefty premium. This program has fewer participants due to the cost. This plan is not low-income friendly. Rates can be as much as double what the normal market value for health insurance is. The pool does tend to offer better benefits but is definitely geared to those people that truly afford insurance. So, most people who fall under this category and require this type of plan are likely to be uninsured due to not being able to afford a plan. This plan is last resort for persons with such illnesses that land them for emergency or hospital care frequently, and it that case pays for itself quickly. Some of the few persons who cannot afford this are lucky enough to have a spouse in the work place that is able to add them to their policy from their employer, these plans cannot discriminate due to chronic or long-term illnesses. The State Health Insurance Pool knows its rates are high, and claims so are medical costs for the chronically ill. They have to charge more to be able to get ahead and stay afloat.

Most risk pools are nonprofit associations ran by the state. Usually they do not use taxes to operate their business. Most persons requiring this type of service usually are filling up the gap in cost of what their normal plan won’t cover or is a temporary pit stop till they can find a plan that accepts them at a lower cost. The people who qualify for this type of coverage must be a resident of the state they are applying in. Most states require you live there for at least six months and some up to one full year before reaching residency status. You also need one of several possible documents from other insurance companies. You will need proof of rejection from at least one company denying them benefits similar to the ones being asked for. You can use proof of insurance with a higher premium as well. You may also be eligible if you can show proof of insurance with a rider or rated policy. Any of the above mentioned could get you approved to apply for the risk pool in the state you reside in. A reciprocity agreement is when a person who is eligible for the plan and is currently on a similar plan, met the waiting period quota, and not used up the lifetime maximum benefits can still be eligible if they move to another state after they meet the residency requirement. Not all states, but most, have this agreement included into their plan.

There is a list of those who are not eligible in the high-risk pool besides non-residents. You are no longer eligible if you move to another state but if you have a reciprocity agreement, you can become eligible in the state you now reside after residency has been established. Most people who are eligible or receive Medicaid or Medicare are also not eligible. Many states do have a high-risk plan for Medicare eligible persons, but if you receive or could receive Medicaid than you don’t qualify. If a person has terminated their coverage in another plan and less than 132 months have passed they are not eligible for the pool till that time is up. Those who have used their maximum lifetime benefits for their plan are also not qualifying. Inmates of a public institution are also not eligible for the risk pool. Other specific exclusions can include state decided specific diseases or medical conditions that they just don’t want to cover. An enrollment cap may also be in affect so only a specific amount of persons may be actively enrolled at any given point of time. All other applicants who are eligible will be placed on a waiting list till there is an opening. There seem to be a higher list of those who don’t qualify then who do for this high-risk benefit that costs an arm and a leg anyway.