5 Tips For Health Insurance After Divorce
It’s that time of year! And no, I don’t mean the Holidays. We’re talking about Open Enrollment. As if choosing a healthcare plan wasn’t stressful enough on its own, figuring out your health insurance options during and after a divorce can be overwhelming. If you’ve found yourself in the position this Open Enrollment Period of having to navigate those options, here is some information that will help guide you through that process:
- First and foremost, no changes should be made to medical coverage until the divorce is finalized. Your spouse cannot legally remove you or your children from their plan. However, make sure to start your research early so you don’t find yourself in the unfortunate position of having lapsed coverage. Open Enrollment is active now until January 14, 2022 – do not miss your opportunity to make an election this year!
- If you and your spouse have children, someone will need to keep the children on their insurance post-divorce. This will most likely be the spouse who already has the children on their plan. The spouse providing coverage will, or should, receive a credit for those payments for his or her child support obligations. Most of the time, the parents then share any uncovered health expenses for the children either equally or at a pro rata share based on each parent’s percentage of the overall monthly income of the family.
- The spouse providing the health insurance for the family will no longer be able to keep the other spouse on their plan after the divorce is finalized. However, there are several options for the spouse losing coverage under that plan. First, if the plan was through your ex-spouse’s employer, you may elect to have temporary coverage under Federal COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) laws. One requirement, however, is that your ex-spouse’s employer must have 20 or more full-time employees. If you qualify, your current coverage under your ex-spouse’s plan could continue for up to thirty-six months. Although this may be beneficial to some, especially in the case of ongoing medical treatment with a specialist who might not be covered under another plan, there is a cost to pay – and it’s a hefty one. COBRA premiums can often be incredibly expensive. Make sure to check on the costs when exploring this option, and notify the plan administrator within 60 days of the final order on your divorce on your decision to elect should you choose to do so.
- One point of negotiation during your divorce may be asking your ex-spouse to pay your COBRA premiums until your benefits run out. If your spouse will not agree to this, the Court does not order it, and find that COBRA coverage does not fit into your budget, you still have options.
- Does your employer provide health insurance coverage? If so, that will most likely be your best option. If not, research private insurance carriers or apply for coverage under state and federal programs – go to healthcare.gov to see what options you have. Just like COBRA premiums, you have the option of requesting that your spouse be obligated to pay your premiums for whatever plan you decide on.
Determining the best health insurance option for you and your children after a divorce can be a challenging task. At Buckhead Family Law, our experienced legal team is here to assist you in navigating health insurance options following your divorce to ensure the most informed choices are made. Whatever you decide to do, make sure to explore all of your options and thoroughly research what plan will be best for you – keeping yourself healthy for yourself and your children is too important not to!