530 Oak St. Suite 102 | Syracuse, New York 13203
Preventing Loss of Health Insurance in a Divorce
For many families, health insurance for one spouse is tied to the other spouse’s job. If the couple divorces, it can leave one spouse without the coverage they need. If you’re in this situation, it is critical to take action that ensures you have health insurance both during and after your divorce.
Once a petition for divorce is filed, the spouses must maintain the status quo while the case is ongoing. This means, among other things, that if one spouse is covered by the other spouse’s insurance, the spouse with the insurance policy cannot terminate benefits for the other. Both spouses are entitled to remain on the insurance throughout the divorce process. After the divorce is finalized, coverage will typically be terminated for the spouse who does not hold the policy. As such, you should start considering your options for new insurance well before the divorce process has concluded.
If you are employed, one solution may be to pursue coverage under your own employer’s plan. This is often the most affordable option. The fact that you have lost coverage during a divorce triggers the ability to join your employer’s plan even outside of the open enrollment period. If you are not employed or if your employer does not offer health insurance, you will need to obtain a plan on the open health insurance market under the Affordable Care Act.
For some spouses, it may be important to keep the same insurance that they had prior to the divorce. If that is the case, there are two options that may be available. First, you may be able to negotiate to remain on your ex-spouse’s insurance as part of the divorce agreement. This will depend on your ex-spouse’s employer if it is an employer sponsored plan. Alternatively, you can remain on your prior insurance for a limited amount of time through the federal COBRA law. After you are removed from your ex-spouse’s plan, you will have 60 days to elect COBRA coverage. The primary disadvantage to going this route is that COBRA can be very expensive, but it may be possible to negotiate coverage of the premiums as part of your divorce settlement.
In addition, your health insurance costs can be factored into calculating the amount of spousal maintenance, otherwise known as alimony, that you might be awarded. For more information about preserving your health insurance coverage, you should consult with an experienced divorce attorney who can help you understand your options and assist you in obtaining a plan.
At Bombardo Law Office, P.C., I represent spouses throughout the divorce process and help clients to find solutions to related issues like health insurance coverage. Please call my Syracuse office at 315-800-4002 or contact me online to arrange a free initial consultation.
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530 Oak St. Suite 102
Syracuse, New York 13203
Bombardo Law Office, P.C. is located in Syracuse, NY and serves clients in and around Syracuse, Liverpool, Camillus, Warners, Nedrow, Cicero, Clay, Marcellus, East Syracuse, Elbridge and Jamesville.
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