What becomes of your health insurance when you divorce?

Photo of attorney Melinda L. Singer

There are a lot of “growing pains” that accompany a divorce. One of those is getting a hold of your finances.

Many jobs don’t come with benefits such as insurance. Your medical benefits may come from the health plan that your spouse receives from their employer. The likelihood of you keeping these benefits once your divorce is slim to none. 

At what point do I lose my health insurance in a divorce?

You lose your health insurance at the time of your divorce’s finalization since this is when you and your spouse cease to be “family”. Children you share in common generally won’t be removed from the insurance policy, however — and your ex-spouse may even be required to keep them on their insurance.

What can I do for health insurance post-divorce?

It can be scary to find out that your insurance is coming to an end. This is especially the case if you’ve set aside your career to raise your kids over the past few years. You may find it reassuring to know that you can qualify for coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). 

COBRA may allow you to maintain active health insurance under your spouse’s health plan for the 36 months immediately following your divorce’s finalization. The downside to this is that you’ll have a hefty premium to pay to keep your policy alive. You may find sourcing insurance under the Affordable Care Act more ideal because of this. 

How can you offset health insurance costs post-divorce?

Many spouses who face the prospect of paying for health insurance costs post-divorce cope by requesting additional spousal support or engaging in property division discussions that aim to balance things out. Those may be options you’ll want to consider when negotiating a settlement in your case. 

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