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Family and Criminal Law Blog

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Divorce and Your Health Insurance Coverage

Will my health insurance coverage be impacted by my divorce?

Divorce has an effect on everyone involved, from the breadwinner to the stay at home parent.  Divorce will impact nearly every aspect of your finances and your life.  Your health insurance is one of the many things that may change due to your divorce.  Health insurance is critical to protect your wellbeing and the health of your family members, so it is important that you anticipate what will happen to your health care coverage after a divorce.  Our Texas divorce lawyers discuss health insurance and your divorce below.  

Health Insurance After Divorce

Nationwide, over 115,000 women lose health insurance due to a divorce, according to a study by the University of Michigan.  If you receive health insurance coverage through your spouse, you should anticipate losing this coverage once the divorce is finalized.  Federal laws will dictate when your health insurance policy will end due to divorce, but states also have laws in place protecting insurance coverage during a divorce.  

There are some ways to potentially protect your health insurance which you receive through your spouse post-divorce. The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) may allow you to continue to pay for coverage through your ex-spouse’s insurance plan up to 36 months post-divorce.  The law only applies if the employer has over 20 employees and you will be responsible for paying the full premium, which is often quite high.

Another option is to seek a legal separation instead of a divorce.  This could allow you to retain your healthcare coverage, although some companies have rules that would forbid a separated spouse from remaining covered.  Legal separation can come with drawbacks and anyone considering it should carefully consult with their divorce attorney.

Under the Affordable Care Act, a recently divorced spouse who lost health care coverage may be able to obtain a reasonably priced policy on the health insurance marketplace.  A divorce will usually qualify as a “qualifying life event,” allowing you to apply outside of the usual enrollment period.  Working divorcees will likely wish to pursue coverage through their workplace.  

The good news for divorcing spouses—usually, your child’s health insurance coverage will not change with a divorce.  This allows you to focus on obtaining new insurance coverage for yourself.  Ask your divorce attorney today how your health insurance may be impacted by your divorce and what steps you can take to protect yourself.

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