How Health Insurance Is Affected by Divorce
The status of healthcare in America is such that many divorcing couples are actually postponing their divorce plans in order to allow one of the spouses continuing access to the other’s employee group health care plan, as reported by Time. While pre-existing conditions no longer affect a person’s ability to qualify for healthcare (for now at least), the drastically rising costs of healthcare and lifesaving prescription medications mean that divorce may not be an option for some. However, there are actions you can take now to safeguard your future and your finances, all while staying with your partner (legally) so that you or they may continue to be covered. If you have questions regarding an impending divorce and how it would affect the status of your or your spouse’s health insurance, a San Jose divorce attorney is here for answers.
Will Legal Separation Work?
In short, no. Employee health care plans are terminated for the non-employee spouse when a couple gets divorced. And, the same is true when the couple gets legally separated. Many Californians believe that they can get around this issue of health coverage loss by getting legally separated, which used to be the case but is no longer true. In some rare cases, an employer can be ordered by a court order to keep the non-employee spouse on the health care plan. However, the odds of this happening are not in your favor.
Steps to Take to Remain on a Spouse’s Health Care Plan
First of all, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (more commonly referred to as COBRA) allows divorced spouses to continue receiving health insurance through their ex-spouse’s employer for a limited amount of time—usually less than 18 months. The spouse would have to pay up to 102 percent of the plan’s cost, however.
Another option is to remain married until a better solution presents itself, such as the other spouse finding employment with health insurance, or waiting for ongoing treatment for cancer or another serious illness to commence. In the meantime, an attorney can help you create a postnuptial agreement that will separate finances, loans, and property, and create terms for the future divorce. A third option is that an attorney can help you finalize divorce papers now, and you can hold off on sending them to court until you are ready.
Call a San Jose Divorce Attorney
Healthcare is only getting more expensive in the near future, and will likely remain that way for some time to come. If you or your spouse depends on the medical care you are receiving now, or depend on insurance being there when needed, the dedicated San Jose divorce attorneys at the office of Gemma V. Reyes can help find a solution that works for you. Call us today.