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Dealing With Health Insurance During and After Divorce

If your marriage is coming to an end, you need to make certain your health insurance does not. Married couples often have health insurance through one spouse’s employer. If you are the spouse who relies on the other’s coverage, you’ll need to take action.

The ex-spouse and stepchildren are removed from an insurance policy immediately upon the divorce becoming final. So, if you are the spouse who will lose coverage, you need to explore options while the divorce is taking place. Courts typically issue temporary orders requiring your spouse to cover you until the divorce is completed.

There are several options for you to pursue to avoid losing health insurance coverage upon divorce:

  • COBRA — This federal law allows for beneficiaries of an employer-sponsored health insurance plan to continue coverage following divorce, but at their own expense. You can stay on your ex-spouse’s health plan for up to three years. COBRA applies only if your ex-spouse’s company has at least 20 employees. You must apply for COBRA within 60 days after the divorce is finalized. You will need to pay the full cost of COBRA insurance, which can be quite high. Make sure you factor this large expense into your post-divorce financial plan.
  • Your employer’s plan — If you have a job that offers health coverage, you should talk to your company about enrolling. The premiums will likely be far more affordable than COBRA or any insurance you buy on the open market. Also, divorce is a major life event that allows you to enroll in employer coverage anytime, not just during the official enrollment period.
  • Purchased coverage — If you don’t have access to employer-provided coverage or COBRA, you will need to shop for insurance on your own. Michigan uses a state-federal partnership exchange, for which you can enroll by visiting Divorce is a qualifying event that allows you to purchase coverage at any point during the year.

You will need to figure out how much of your post-divorce budget will go towards health insurance. If you are also going to receive spousal support (alimony), the cost of your health coverage can be factored in to the support calculation. Note that the children of your marriage will not be automatically dropped from the insurance policy. The cost of the children’s health insurance may be reflected in your child support agreement.

Divorce and health insurance are both complicated topics on their own. Dealing with them at the same time can be hard. But you don’t have to do it alone. At Dawson Family Law, PLLC in Sterling Heights, Michigan, I provide my divorce clients comprehensive advice concerning health coverage and can help you take steps to remain covered. You can set up a free consultation by calling 833-671-4445 or contact me online today.

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    Sterling Heights, Michigan 48314
    Phone: 586-731-7400
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