Health Insurance Coverage After a Divorce
UPDATED: October 3, 2012
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There are many issues that arise during a divorce, and health insurance can be one of the biggest and most important. The cost of health insurance and health care can be astronomical, and sometimes it may even be impossible to get new healthcare coverage if you are dropped from your carrier and if you have a pre-existing condition. As such, if you and your kids are on your spouse's insurance and you are getting a divorce, it is imperative you know what will happen to your health coverage after the divorce.
Health Insurance Coverage for the Kids After Divorce
After your divorce, the kids should remain on your spouse's policy. They are still dependents and the divorce doesn't change that, so they will remain covered. If your spouse is currently paying a co-pay or a portion of the premiums in order to have the child or children covered, you may wish to have a provision written into your divorce settlement or agreement that requires him or her to continue to pay that premium and provide such coverage. That way, your kids will be protected and it will be clear and in writing that the children's other parent does and always will have the legal responsibility to provide them with health care.
Keep in mind, though, that healthcare costs are dealt with differently in different states. If your spouse provides health insurance, this provision is likely to ultimately reduce the amount of child support you receive, or increase the amount of support you are required to pay.
Health Insurance Coverage For You After Divorce
Coverage for you becomes a bit trickier. Once the divorce is finalized and becomes legal, you will no longer be considered a dependent of your husband. This means that if you were covered under his policy and his employer was paying or subsidizing the premiums, you no longer will be covered. You may generally remain on the coverage through COBRA for a set period of time, but will have to begin to pick up paying the entire cost of insurance. You will need to consider having provisions for dealing with this built into to the divorce settlement agreement as well. For example, you may have the agreement state that your husband will keep you on his coverage through COBRA for a set period of time and/or that he will have to continue paying the premiums for you during that time.
Getting Legal Help With Your Divorce
Making sure you and your kids have health insurance after your divorce is extremely important. You should strongly consider speaking with a lawyer about this and other issues before you begin the process of divorce.