Health Insurance as part of Support

One frequent question in the context of divorce is what will happen to health insurance coverage in the context of a divorce. Generally, a spouse cannot drop the other spouse during the context of the divorce. Health insurance is often considered in the context of support and spouses are obligated to provide support for each other during the marriage. Once divorced, however, you cannot remain on your ex-spouse’s health insurance plan. If you are unable to obtain alternate health insurance on your own right away you can look into COBRA coverage.

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) gives the employee providing the health insurance and their ex-spouse who has lost their health benefits the right to choose to continue health benefits for a limited period of time and under certain circumstances. A spouse who elects COBRA coverage following a divorce may be required to pay the entire premium for coverage, up to 102 percent of the cost to the plan. Additionally, COBRA coverage is only temporary and generally only lasts for 36 months. Only employers with 20 or more employees in the prior year who provide group health insurance are required to abide by COBRA and provide the opportunity for a temporary extension of health coverage.

If there are children between the parties, the children may remain under the health insurance coverage presently provided. There may be an adjustment to any child support award based on who is paying the premiums on the health insurance for the children. There is a 60 day window following the termination of coverage in which to notify the health insurance provider whether or not you are pursuing COBRA coverage.