Maintaining Health Insurance after Divorce

By Jeff Adams

Health insurance is a contract between the policy holder and the insurance company. Under the terms of the policy, the insurer will cover the financial responsibility the policy directs them to pay. A health insurance policy covers routine and emergency services and prescription drugs. The extent of the coverage depends on the policy. Health insurance is an important asset to have. In the event of divorce, one spouse or the other will be required to obtain their own health insurance.

Who Gets ‘Custody’ of Health Care

One of the detrimental effects of divorce is losing health insurance coverage. Most families receive health insurance coverage through one spouse’s employer. After a divorce, the ex-spouse and children who are born of the ex-spouse are no longer eligible for coverage. Almost all states allow dependent children of divorce to continue to receive health insurance coverage through the supporting party. The issue of health care coverage can be addressed by divorce settlement provisions or initial marriage documents, such as a prenuptial agreement.

Maintaining Coverage through COBRA

COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) is a federal law that was put in place to prevent interruption in health care coverage when life events, such as divorce, occur. It is essential to maintain health care for children for their well-being and health. A court will most likely rule that the supporting parent must continue to provide the same health insurance coverage.

Your spouse’s employer is required to provide health insurance under COBRA for you. However, the health plan administrator has to be notified 60 days before the divorce is final in order to qualify. If the proper notice is not given, you are not eligible for coverage.

Under the terms of COBRA, you will be responsible for the entire cost of the coverage. COBRA is only a temporary measure, and the coverage terminates in 36 months. However, this will give you coverage until permanent health insurance is put in place. This will give you time to explore your health care options and find a plan in keeping with your health care needs and budget.

Health Care Options

If you are employed or will be employed after the divorce, it may be possible to acquire health care coverage through your employer. That will be the easiest solution to the health care concern and may even be the most cost-effective. It is possible to purchase a single or family health care package without the benefit of employment or access to a group plan. Health insurance providers have a number of plans and policies to choose from, and it is a matter of choosing what fits your needs and budget best. It will generally be more expensive to purchase insurance on your own.

When a divorce is imminent, the resolution of health care should be the top priority on your list. It is essential to put that element in motion as soon as possible to be sure that time frames are met, and that there is no gap in coverage.

Article courtesy of James Alston.

Jeff Adams

About The Author

Jeff Adams is contributing author to WomensDivorces.com, and writes regularly on divorce and family law topics.