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Does My Health Insurance Remain the Same After Divorce?

August 17, 2020

Divorce brings so many changes, and if one is currently receiving health insurance coverage from a soon-to-be ex-spouse’s policy, that will change, too. One cannot continue to stay on a former spouse’s health insurance plan after divorce. However, if one has children with an ex-spouse, the children can remain on their policy. The children’s premiums is outlined in the divorce agreement.

What is COBRA Insurance Coverage?

After the divorce process is finalized, an ex-spouse may receive temporary health insurance benefits through their former spouse’s employer. Under the federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), health insurance coverage is provided up to 36 months after the divorce. However, one must pay for these benefits out of pocket and can no longer receive the employer’s contribution to the health plan. Often, this makes COBRA coverage a very expensive proposition.

For example, an ex-spouse might only pay $200 per month for health insurance coverage while the employers chips in $600. One will be responsible for the entire $800 monthly payment.

On the plus side, during the COBRA coverage, an ex-spouse will have the same health plan as they did while they were married. This also means that the ex-spouse will have the same doctors and specialists too.

It is important to keep in mind that one must elect to keep the health coverage through the COBRA within 60 days of the divorce. Failure to provide notice to the group health insurance plan means that coverage rights will be terminated. The Human Resources coordinator at the ex-spouse’s place of employment will answer questions regarding COBRA enrollment.

What if I am Separated but not Divorced?

Depending on the couple, another option is filing a separation agreement but not actually filing for divorce. The separation agreement addresses other marital issues, such as child custody, alimony, child support, and property division. Also, the spouse can remain on the other spouse’s health care plan. If the relationship between the spouse is relatively amicable, this solution may work, at least on a temporary basis.

Should I Obtain a Health Insurance Plan Through My Employer?

If an ex-spouse is employed, it makes sense to look into their employer’s health care coverage. Although the majority of group health plans only permit workers to join the plan during the annual open enrollment period, that is not the case when an employee experiences a major life change, including divorce.

If an ex-spouse is not employed or if the employer does not offer health care benefits, they may find coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Who Can Help Me with Health Insurance?

After research, one can sign up for federally facilitated health care coverage online. While the ACA has an open enrollment period, those finding themselves going through divorce may qualify to enroll at other times, this is called the Special Enrollment Period. One can pick the plan that suits their needs and budget.

A person must submit documentation that shows when the current coverage begins and ends. Such documentation includes correspondence from the former spouse’s health insurance provider.

Additionally, a knowledgeable lawyer can address concerns in this matter. During or after a divorce, it is beneficial to ask a lawyer about how health insurance is affected and the options that are available.

Huntsville Divorce Lawyers at Hodges Trial Lawyers, P.C. Help Divorcees with Health Insurance

Health insurance is one critical issue in divorce proceedings. If you have decided to divorce and you are concerned about your health insurance coverage, you need the services of one of our experienced Huntsville divorce lawyers at Hodges Trial Lawyers, P.C. We will answer all of your questions as we guide you through the divorce process. Call us at 256-539-3110 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation today. Located in Huntsville and Athens, Alabama, we serve clients throughout North Alabama, Madison County, Limestone County, Marshall County, Jackson County, Morgan County, and Lauderdale County.