By: Stephen Foster of Foster Financial Services, Inc.
Getting a divorce is never an easy process for anyone. So many unanswered questions on your mind, but one that should never be forgotten is your health insurance!
When getting a divorce your Health Insurance should always be considered in the agreement. Once the final judgment has been signed, there is not much you will be able to do to continue with health coverage depending on who the primary insured is.
There are two different scenarios; if you are the primary insured who currently has a health plan that covers your family, you will either continue to keep the coverage as is or choose to drop your former spouse from your plan as soon as the divorce is finalized. If the roles were reversed and you were the dependent on your former spouse’s health plan, they can choose to immediately remove you from the insurance after the divorce is finalized. This will add more strain to your already stressful situation.
During your separation, your spouse should not remove you from the policy or alter health insurance coverage without your consent.
I strongly recommend that you plan-ahead and make the health insurance a priority part of your divorce agreement. You have options…
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) requires employers to keep providing health insurance for an employee’s former spouse for up to 36 months after a divorce has reached a final judgement. However, this only applies to companies that have over 20 employees. The spouse who has health insurance is usually asked to keep the former spouse under the plan for as long as the plan allows. Your other option would be to apply for your own individual policy or through your employer.
You may qualify for a Special Enrollment Period to enroll any time if you have had certain life events, including losing health coverage either due to divorce or previous employer, moving, getting married, having a baby, or adopting a child. The Special Enrollment Period only lasts for 60 days after the qualifying event.
It is very important to consider your options before you finalize your agreement. If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to our office to help alleviate your stress.
Stephen Foster is the President of Foster Financial Services, Inc. He is a CFP (Certified Financial Planner), ChFC (Chartered Financial Consultant), CLU (Charter Life Underwriting, and a LUTCF (Life Underwriting Training Counsel Fellow). You can learn more about Foster Financial Services, Inc. here.