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Poetry be damned, here’s some real advice:

January 6, 2010

If you are presently negotiating your divorce settlement, and part of that settlement includes anything to do with health insurance, don’t be as dopey as I was.

Get it in writing that your ex-spouse will provide comparable coverage for x amount of time. Not that he’ll pay x dollars for x amount of time. Comparable coverage.

I signed up for an individual health plan, effective the day of the divorce, and before I even got my enrollment package in the mail, the insurance company wrote to inform me that they are discontinuing the plan I’d chosen (and that my ex-husband agreed to pay for, for a limited time, so that I could continue in my current, uninsured line of work. I now have an exciting decision to make: Will I stick with the health insurance coverage I presently enjoy, at a 50% increase in price per month? Or will I opt to continue paying roughly the amount my ex-husband agreed to, in exchange for dreadful, bare-bones, nothing-but-catastrophic insurance?

When my mother was about to get married for the fourth time, I was a bit skeptical. “I just don’t see why you have to get MARRIED,” I kept nagging. “You’re both middle-aged, you don’t plan to have children, you can just live together, right? After all, divorce is a nasty business. You should know–it’s YOUR business, after all.”

We were in J. Crew, picking out a frock for her wedding. (She was going to wear an old sundress; I convinced her to go shopping, mostly so I could say, “Hey, you only get married once!” as many times as possible in front of various salespeople.) My mother was quiet for a while, which is most unusual. Finally, she took the bait.

“I feel like marriage is the one thing in my life I’ve gotten seriously wrong, over and over,” she said in a tiny voice. “I want to get it right, this time.”

And before I could even apologize for being such an obnoxious, cynical jerk, she added, “And, I need health insurance. True love, and health insurance. Those are really the only good reasons to get married.”

I might reverse the order of priority myself, but I think she was absolutely correct.

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