What Happens to Your Health Insurance After You Divorce?
01 January 2018IN: Family Law
Make sure you are always covered for health insurance, even after divorce.
Health insurance provide critical benefits and gaps in coverage can have serious consequences. That said, health insurance coverage should always be addressed as early as possible in divorce proceedings. This will help ensure that you continue to have access to coverage despite the marital situation.
If you get your health insurance through your own employer, then you will be all set. A divorce will not change this. If you are covered through your spouse’s employer, you will need to evaluate your health insurance options going forward. You may have several options, including:
- Insurance through your own employer; or
- Private insurance.
COBRA, (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act), is federal law requiring insurance plants to provide continued health care coverage to those at risk of losing health insurance coverage due to a qualifying event. A divorce is usually a qualifying event that will give an employee’s soon-to-be-former spouse and children access to continued health care coverage even after the divorce is finalized. However, COBRA coverage can be expensive. In many cases, your spouse’s employer pays a portion of the health insurance premium for current employees. Under COBRA, you will be on the hook for the entire premium payment and administrative fee. Additionally, COBRA coverage will usually only extend for a maximum of 36 months so you will eventually need to find different health insurance.
Because of the expense and limitations of COBRA coverage, you may want to investigate your other options. If you can get health insurance coverage through your own employer, this might be the better option. If, however, this is unavailable, you might also want to look into getting private insurance. Evaluate the cost and coverage options under private plans to see if there is something better out there.
If you are considering COBRA benefits, be sure to check all filing requirements. COBRA provisions regarding notice that you want access to benefits are strict. Find out the company’s notice requirements as early on as possible. Failure to timely comply with notice requirements will put your access to benefits at risk and you may find yourself with a lapse in health insurance coverage.