Getting a divorce effectively changes the legal status of everyone involved. This also means the possibility of losing health insurance coverage.
This is because your legal right to health insurance coverage through spouse’s policy is based on your status as a spouse. Luckily, certain states enable divorcees to keep their ex-spouse’s under their health insurance policy and order the plan holder to continue paying for the benefits.
Health Insurance Coverage Orders
If the state you are in requires continued health insurance coverage after divorce, your divorce decree or settlement agreement must clearly detail your ex’s responsibilities regarding the coverage continuance. It should also cover who should pay for the premiums, what will happen if the coverage changes because of job loss or change, or when you or your ex remarries.
Additionally, in the event that your state does not require continued coverage, any arrangements you, your ex-spouse, and your divorce lawyer in Colorado Springs, CO agree on must be included in the settlement agreement to ensure that it can be enforced later on.
Court-Ordered Coverage Continuance
Majority of insurance laws are specific to states, and these differ regarding whether or not the coverage must continue when the divorce has been finalized. In select states, an ex-spouse will still qualify for continued coverage until he or she remarries. But depending on certain circumstances, the court could order continued coverage even after remarriage.
Applying for COBRA Coverage
If your state does not require ex-spouses to continue health insurance coverage and you find yourself uninsured after your divorce, you can consider applying for COBRA, which is a federal program under the Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act.
Basically, this will allow you to buy individual health insurance benefits under the plan of your ex-spouse’s policy. COBRA coverage will only last for 36 months at most, and you will need to pay for the policy’s full cost unless your divorce settlement agreement states otherwise.
Likewise, while the court could order that your ex maintain your policy or contribute a predetermined amount to your policy, these must be clearly stated in the divorce decree to ensure enforceability and liability.
What About the Children’s Health Insurance
Your children will still qualify for the employer-provided health insurance coverage even if you get divorced. It is crucial to note, however, that your ex can decide to stop your children’s coverage. So, make sure that continued coverage for your children is also included in your settlement agreement.
Other Vital Things to Consider
If you are employed, you should think about signing up with your company’s group healthcare insurance plan instead of paying premiums on your ex-spouse’s policy. Although most insurance providers prohibit joining and making coverage modifications once the open enrollment has passed, a divorce is usually reason enough to qualify as an exemption.
That said, talk to human resources regarding coverage after a divorce before finalizing your divorce decree. In the event that you are eligible for such coverage, just make certain to know how much you will need to pay.