Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Health Insurance Debacle

The Ex told me a little over a week ago that she lost her job. She told me in a matter of fact fashion as I picked up my son, just as I was about to get in my car. I asked her what happened, and she said that the company was doing poorly, and would be going out of business soon. I have no idea if that’s true, and really have no way of finding out. The only way it would matter in any case would be if it were due to a decline in her mental state.

I don’t like to be a person that counts their blessings in light of other’s misfortunes, but this would have been much more of a problem for me if the divorce were not final.

Under the agreement, my Ex is responsible for maintaining health insurance for our son. Obviously, when she lost her job, she lost her health insurance, which means that my son lost his coverage also. The timing was lucky. I had not finished the enrollment process for benefits for 2006, and the deadline was quickly approaching. I told her that I could put him on my insurance, but she said that she had something worked out already. She explained that she was looking into state coverage for him. This didn’t seem like a good solution compared to having him on my insurance, but I decided to go and compare the plans. I won’t go into the specifics, but my opinion is that the state coverage is very good, but not as good as regular coverage.

When I spoke to her on the phone I told her I thought he should be added to my coverage. She explained that she’d think about it, but that she was eligible for Cobra coverage. This was a much different position than she originally put forth. There are several problems with this solution from my standpoint. Cobra coverage is expensive. Very expensive. She’d have to pay for both herself and my son until she found another job, assuming it had health insurance benefits. My concern with this is the possibility (which is low, but I don’t want to risk it) that I’ll be responsible for half of the cost of covering my son under Cobra. I asked her how she was going to pay for the coverage, and she told me that her father was going to pay for it. I don’t feel that’s fair to him. I don’t even know if he even knows she thinks he’s going to pay for it or if she was just saying that to put me off.

I had to finish enrollment within several hours, and I had a decision to make. I told her that I was going to add him to my coverage just to be sure he had coverage. I would cover the cost myself, and it would save her and her father a significant amount of money.

She then told me the real reason she didn’t want me to do this. She said she wanted to provide the health insurance coverage because she didn’t trust me. She thinks I’m up to something. I’m not sure what she thinks I’m going to get by doing this, it might be nothing. In my opinion it’s just another example of the paranoia.

I had to make a quick decision, so I told her that I was going to put him on my insurance. First she told me she forbade it. I told her that I understood that she didn’t like it, but that I felt it was more important to make sure he had coverage. She told I didn’t have her permission, and I replied that I didn’t need it – we have joint custody. She was furious, and told me she “didn’t approve it”. She implied that she would be looking into legal action and then she hung up.

I knew she wasn’t happy, but I didn’t feel I had any other choice. I also felt I was being very nice – I was going to cover the cost myself, and I take the top coverage, so she wouldn’t have any real cause for complaint from that standpoint either. It would also save her and her father a lot of money. I figured I was on pretty solid ground from a legal standpoint. I was going above and beyond what was required.

I came home on Sunday night to find that a certified letter had been delivered to me on Saturday. It was from the Ex. Basically, on the day after I told her I was putting our son on my health insurance, she wrote up this letter. It stated that we were well beyond the court-ordered date for me to have my belongings out of the condo, and that if all of it were not out by December 4th she would be filing a Motion for Contempt. I don’t remember a specific date being assigned, but I could be wrong. She finished the letter by stating that she wanted the name and phone number of the person at my company who handled health insurance so she could call them and get on some kind of mailing list for changes to the health insurance.

This gives me a little less than a week to get the stuff out of the condo. In that time, I’m moving and have a visitation day. She knows this. What it comes down to is that she’s retaliating against me for putting our son on my health insurance. Never mind that I’m paying for it, it’s saving her a lot of money, and I’m willing to move him back to her insurance once she gets it. She thinks I’m up to something, and nothing else matters.

I wrote her back an email, saying that I got the letter. It was quite long, and I brought up the insurance situation and said that I didn’t understand why she was so angry about it. I also said that I felt she was retaliating against me for putting him on it, despite the fact that it was helping her out. I said a lot more than that, but I wasn’t rude, and I didn’t make threats. I finished by saying that I have been more than cooperative, and that I couldn’t stop her from filing the motion. I hoped, however, that she would work towards greater cooperation instead of causing me more problems than she already had.

Stress? Yeah, I got it.