A close second priority to your health is your health insurance coverage. If your insurance is through the employer of your spouse, once your divorce is finalized, you will need to get your own insurance. Insurance must remain status quo during the divorce process.
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act or “COBRA”
The court might order your spouse to keep the insurance for your children, but cannot not for you, after the divorce. Under this federal law, if your spouse is employed by a company with 20 or more employees, you may be entitled to apply for continued health insurance coverage under his employer’s plan. The ability for you to apply for COBRA benefits under the health insurance plan of your former spouse should be specifically addressed in your Marital Settlement Agreement.
There is a 60 day notification rule
You need to notify the health plan administrator within sixty days of becoming divorced, because your spouse’s employer is required to provide COBRA insurance coverage for you. Otherwise, failure to notify will result in ineligibility for COBRA coverage. Again, it would be best to address this issue in your Marital Settlement Agreement to ensure this does not occur.
Coverage through your own employer will not cost as much
It is likely that your spouse’s employer is paying for all or part of your insurance premium. If this is the case, you may not want to be covered under COBRA, because you will be paying for the entire premium or charged 102% of the group rate cost.
If your employer provides you insurance at little to no cost, it is better to stick with this insurance. You may also learn that other private plans are less costly and more permanent than COBRA coverage. You may ask what insurance types are accepted at your doctors’ offices and which ones will work best for you.
COBRA coverage expires for the ex-spouse in 36 months
The insurance coverage provided under COBRA terminates in 36 months. You will need to plan and take steps to make sure your health is covered once COBRA terms and eligibility end. You will need to acquire new insurance to make sure you are covered.
Our team at Petrelli Previtera is here to provide you with the legal divorce assistance you need. Get started today by scheduling your consultation online with one of the firm’s top divorce attorneys.