How to Apply for Medicaid after Divorce
If you’re navigating a divorce, it’s undeniably a challenging time. And in the middle of it all, you’ll have to make a flurry of decisions, some of which you may not have had to consider in a long time. One of these important decisions has to do with your health insurance plan. You want to make sure you have adequate healthcare provisions for yourself and your children after the divorce is final.
Some people find themselves without health coverage after their divorce. But healthcare insurance coverage is critical to the health and well-being of yourself and your minor children. Without it, you may not have access to your doctors if you get ill. An emergency could leave you financially devastated.
The Importance of Health Insurance After Divorce
Even if your ex-spouse maintains coverage for your kids as part of your divorce settlement, you will need to find health insurance for yourself.
Your Right to Continue Health Insurance After Divorce
After divorce, you have several options for health insurance.
If your ex’s group policy at work covered you before your divorce, you may be able to get temporary coverage through COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act). COBRA is a program that allows a worker or family member to continue getting healthcare benefits temporarily after a life change. COBRA healthcare coverage can last up to three years or until you can get other coverage on your own – but it can be very expensive.
You might consider getting insurance coverage through your employer if you are employed. Many employers offer health insurance benefits to their employees.
Private Health Insurance Policy
Shopping for a personal health insurance policy through a private insurer or on the Affordable Care Act Marketplace is another option. It allows you to choose a plan that suits your specific needs.
Medicare for Seniors
If you are over 65, you can apply for Medicare, a government program that provides health coverage to seniors.
Medicaid for Low-Income Individuals
If you find that you can’t afford healthcare for yourself and your children after the divorce, Medicaid might be an option. Medicaid is a government program that provides health coverage to adults with limited income and resources, children, elderly adults, and people with special needs.
Understanding Medicaid Eligibility
Because each state administers its own Medicaid program, eligibility can vary from state to state. You can find your own state laws about Medicaid eligibility requirements on your state’s official website.
Applying for Medicaid Benefits
Applying for Medicaid can take time, so it’s important to start the process as soon as possible.
When submitting your application, you’ll need to include documentation that proves your age, citizenship or alien status, all income sources, assets and financial resources, any disability, your residence, and any other insurance you have, including Medicare.
Your state is required to respond to all applications within 45 days of submission or 90 days for disability applications.
FAQs about Medicaid and Divorce
1. Do marital assets impact my Medicaid eligibility?
To qualify individuals for benefits, Medicaid looks at the value of their assets. If you’re married, this will include assets that both of you own, even if they are in separate accounts or held under separate names. After divorce, your eligibility will be based on your assets alone but will be subject to anything you receive in your marital settlement agreement.
2. Can Medicaid cover me retroactively?
Medicaid historically had a provision that covers medical expenses for up to three months prior to application if the applicant would have been eligible at that time. But many states have now limited or eliminated retroactive coverage. You will need to check with your individual state’s guidelines to see if your state still offers retroactive coverage and under what conditions.
3. What if Medicaid rejects my application?
If your application is rejected, you have the right to appeal. Some states require that an appeal be made in writing, while others don’t. Your denial notice will detail your own state’s rules. Once your appeal has been submitted, you’ll appear at a hearing and be allowed to prove why your denial was incorrect. If you win the hearing, your Medicaid benefits will be applied retroactively from the time of your initial application.
4. What is a “Medicaid divorce”?
A “Medicaid divorce” is a planning strategy where assets get transferred to the healthy spouse to reduce the countable assets of the spouse applying for Medicaid benefits. However, it’s essential to consider the risks and potential impacts on other benefits before proceeding with this approach.
In conclusion, after a divorce, finding the right health insurance coverage is crucial for your well-being and that of your children. Explore your options, such as COBRA, employer coverage, private policies, Medicare, and Medicaid, to ensure you have adequate healthcare provisions. Don’t hesitate to seek professional advice to navigate through this challenging process successfully.