Maintaining your health insurance after divorce

As a divorce attorney, I get asked by a lot of clients if they can stay on their spouse’s health insurance after their divorce is final. Unfortunately, if you are insured through your ex’s job, you cannot stay on that employer’s health insurance after the divorce is final. Some companies will even bump you off during a legal separation. The most important thing is not to allow gaps in your insurance coverage. Normally, your spouse is required to provide coverage for any children that are involved in the divorce action. One party is frequently left to figure out how to obtain new insurance.

If your spouse works for a company that employs 20 or more people, you are eligible to apply for COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act). If your spouse’s company has fewer than 20 employees, you could still be eligible for continued coverage under the mini-COBRA coverage laws.  State mini-COBRA terms can differ quite significantly from those provided by the standard COBRA. Here is a helpful website to go over terms and eligibility:

Your spouse’s employer is required to provide COBRA coverage to you only if you notify the health plan administrator within 60 days of becoming divorced. COBRA insurance ends within 36 months. The 36 months allows you the time to look for the best insurance plan that meets all of your needs. However this type of insurance coverage is often very expensive.

Some of you may decide to just forgo COBRA and receive health insurance through your own employers’ plans. If you choose to obtain COBRA insurance, you will be responsible for the entire amount of the premium. And if you choose your own health insurance through your employer, it could be at little to no charge to you. Talk to the personnel at your doctor’s office to discuss what insurance plans they accept.

A great alternative to COBRA is Obamacare (Affordable Healthcare Act). The health insurance exchange offers far less expensive coverage options. While there is a limited general enrollment period for health insurance under the health insurance exchanges, you can enroll at other times of the year during a special enrollment period if you’ve experienced a qualifying life event, such as divorce or marriage.

Call Dreyer Law for a free consultation today. We are here for you if you are thinking about getting a divorce or need advice on health insurance and divorce settlements.

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