I have had continual health insurance until December 5th. My divorce was finalized on 12/5/13 and my health insurance abruptly stopped on that exact date. No grace period. The COBRA letter came on the 20th with the price tag of $621 a month.
During Divorce Negotiations
I knew this was in the future so, in negotiating my divorce settlement and maintenance, I considered the cost of health insurance that I would not have had to pay until this point in my life. At the time Healthy NY showed that an adult in my county could pay $230 a month for a fairly good policy. I had some other costs – Parent PLUS loans – that I felt my ex-husband should pay a portion of so added parts of those and parts of the health insurance premium for 10 years together. His attorney negotiated the number of years but not the amount I came up with and we settled.
Initial Website Visit
October I managed to log into the NY State of Health website with no issues at all. I already had a NYS ID from filing taxes and used that same ID to log into this site. I did not choose to get financial assistance and I was immediately approved for a eligibility and showed plans. Sticker shock set in.. To receive a plan that was comparable to what I currently had as a spouse of a NYS employee, I would be paying almost triple what the Healthy NY costs had been. I had not picked the top of the line policy when I had looked at Healthy NY so I started looking at lesser policies. My problem was the deductibles. I did not want a high deductible policy.
Next Step – Subsidy
November came and the attorney was hoping that the finalization of the divorce was close. He really had no way to know for sure, though. I decided it was time to go back to NY State of Health and see what would happen if I said I was looking for a subsidy to pay for the policy. Now, I hit my first hiccup. My taxes were filed as head of household but I was not attempting to have a household on the health care site. Part of the divorce settlement meant my ex had to continue coverage on the children until the age of 21. I did not understand why I had to build a household and enter children’s information when I only wanted insurance for myself. I did it, though, so I could get this all figured out. I wanted to be able to buy insurance so I did not have a lapse at all.
I managed to get all the information needed input into the site. It was not hard as the kids file taxes. Now I get a page that says I am eligible but when I click plans, I get a blank page. No plans to choose from so no idea what a payment will be.
The Problems Begin
Friday, I called. I was on hold for 20 minutes but had to attend to the needs of a client so had to get off hold. I did not try on Saturday. On Monday, approximately 9 am – so one hour after the exchange opened, I called. I pushed what I thought were all the right buttons – social security number, zip code, birthdate – and yet I did not get put on hold. I got a message of where would you like us to call you back. I have tried four times today to get through. No matter what I say I want to do, I get this message. It does say that I will get a call back within 24 hours.
Hopefully, I get a call when I am near my computer so I can explain what I am seeing.
Stayed tuned for more information on my family’s trials with the Affordable Care Act.
Have you tried to purchase health insurance through HealthCare.gov or your individual state’s marketplace? What was your experience like?