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....
Either as the stay-at-home parent who raises the children or as the parent without health insurance provided through their employer, you will have an additional hurdle in the form of finding insurance after your divorce is finalized, provided that you have been covered through your spouse’s group employee plan. Unfortunately, because you cannot stay on your ex’s employer-provided health care plan, you need to take action now to ensure that you are covered from the day after your divorce papers are signed.
In amicable divorces, you will likely have more time (up to 30 days or so) for the policyholder to notify the insurance company of the change. However, not all divorcing couples are so good to one another. It is important to not allow any lapse in medical coverage because you never know when an accident or hidden illness may come out of nowhere. A San Jose divorce attorney can help you through your divorce and answer any questions you may have about health insurance.
Applying for Insurance Through COBRA...