TODAY'S PAPER
30° Good Afternoon
30° Good Afternoon
LifestyleRetirement

Ask the Expert: Health insurance for a dependent spouse

My husband and I are both covered for health insurance through his employer. After he turns 65, the company requires that Medicare be his primary insurance. But I won't be 65 for a few more years. How can I get health insurance after he switches to Medicare?

Start by checking the terms of your current plan. It's unclear whether your husband will retire at 65 or keep working. But if he remains an employee after switching to Medicare, his employer's plan must cover you the same way it covers all other employees' dependents. And if his employer's plan provides him with secondary coverage after he retires, it might continue as your primary carrier.

If not, one option is to extend your current coverage under the COBRA law. COBRA lets you continue in a former employer's plan for up to 18 months or up to 36 months, depending on the circumstances. The downside is the cost. Your coverage under COBRA is no longer employer-subsidized. You pay 100% of the premium, plus a 2% administrative fee.

A potentially less expensive option is buying an individual health insurance policy in NY State of Health, the insurance market created under the Affordable Care Act. A dozen insurers sell NY State of Health policies, competing on price and quality of service. Policy cost depends on the level of coverage you choose, your age, where you live, and whether you qualify for a federal subsidy.

NY State of Health provides free assistance from well-trained advisers, both on the phone and in person. Call 855-355-5777 to speak to (or make an appointment with) a "navigator" who can explain your options and help you choose a policy.

The bottom line

NY State of Health makes health insurance available to all New Yorkers under age 65.

More information

dfs.ny.gov/consumers/health_insurance/cobra_faqs

nystateofhealth.ny.gov

TO ASK THE EXPERT Send questions to Ask the Expert/Act 2, Newsday, 6 Corporate Center Dr., Melville, NY 11747, or email act2@newsday.com. Include your name, address and phone numbers. Questions can be answered only in this column. Advice is offered as general guidance. Check with your own consultants for your specific needs.

Comments

We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

More Lifestyle