Health insurance is an important concern for all of us. If you are going through a divorce and are currently covered by the health insurance policy that your spouse carries through his or her employment, you need to think carefully about where you will obtain coverage once you are divorced. While your children can remain on your soon-to-be ex’s policy, you will no longer qualify once your divorce is finalized.
Obtaining adequate health insurance is expensive. Group plans – such as those offered by employers – typically offer the best rates and coverage. This is why many stay-at-home parents seek employment after going through a divorce. Regardless of your situation, it is important to factor health insurance coverage into your divorce considerations.
If you are employed – or are working toward becoming employed – your best option is probably to move to your company’s health insurance plan. Insurance plans purchased through work usually offer comprehensive coverage that is also affordable. If you work for a very small business, however, health insurance may not be available. Further, if you remain unemployed after your divorce, you will need to consider health insurance alternatives.
COBRA stands for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, and it is a federal mechanism that allows insured individuals the opportunity to maintain their health insurance for a predetermined period of time after going through a qualifying event such as a divorce. Because a divorce automatically disqualifies you from remaining on your ex’s health insurance policy, COBRA allows you to purchase identical coverage for up to three years. There are important forms and deadlines that you will need to pay careful attention to if you ultimately cover yourself through COBRA. Finally, COBRA can be cost prohibitive – especially after the financial losses that often accompany divorce.
The Affordable Care Act
The affordable care act (ACA) is another option for purchasing individual health insurance. The ACA is primarily managed through a government exchange with a set enrollment period. A precipitating event such as divorce, however, allows you to enroll outside of the open enrollment period.
Health Insurance and Your Divorce
If you were covered by your spouse’s health insurance throughout your marriage, determining your health insurance coverage after divorce is going to be critical. An experienced Central Texas divorce attorney will help you explore your best options.