Why Healthcare May Cause Couples to Postpone Divorce

Divorce and Health Insurance

Something new is causing some married couples to postpone divorce, and it’s likely to surprise you. Finding adequate and affordable medical insurance after divorce is yet one more challenge couples must face when separating.

The rising costs and increasing uncertainty of healthcare coverage, especially when you need to alter your existing plan or switch to a new plan due to divorce, is reason enough for some couples to prolong the separation process.

How long can I stay on my spouse’s insurance plan? What are my options for healthcare after divorce? Here are the answers to the most common questions about divorce and health insurance.

Am I Still Covered for Healthcare After a Divorce?

Amidst all the other decisions you must make, the thought of whether or not you will be keeping health insurance after divorce may not be your first concern. Simply put, health insurance for a divorced spouse is not guaranteed and mainly depends upon the plan.

If you are currently covered under your spouse’s health insurance plan, you can remain covered until the divorce is final. Then you are no longer able to stay on the plan, but may elect continuation coverage under COBRA.

COBRA, or Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, requires continuation coverage to be offered for a maximum of 36 months to covered employees, their spouses, former spouses, and dependent children when group health coverage would otherwise be lost due to certain specific events, in this case divorce. COBRA coverage has to be purchased by the former insured and the cost is generally the same as the cost to the employer. While COBRA is not a long-term solution for healthcare, it can bridge the gap until you find alternate insurance and are eligible for open enrollment into a new plan.

Why Are People Postponing Divorce for Healthcare?

The complexity and uncertainty surrounding the topic of divorce and health insurance coverage has led some couples to stay together longer or to be strategic with how they go about separating. Here are just a few of the most common reasons why people are postponing divorce for healthcare:
· No company can offer health insurance for a former spouse, once the divorce if final.
· One or both spouses may be unable to afford health insurance independently.
· With children part of the equation, their coverage and associated healthcare costs become an additional consideration.
· With the possible repeal of the Affordable Care Act, it is unclear how certain things, like preexisting conditions, will impact health insurance coverage moving forward which may leave a spouse unable to get insurance after divorce.

Is Postponing my Divorce for Health Insurance Coverage my Only Option?

Every situation and every divorce is unique. The short answer is no, postponing your divorce to avoid losing your health insurance is not your only option for remaining insured. Though many changes are being made to America’s healthcare system that may ultimately impact the laws and policies related to keeping health insurance after divorce, you will not be left without an option for coverage.

As mentioned above, COBRA provides a divorced spouse with up to 36 months of continuation coverage on your current plan. Alternately, if your employer offers insurance plans, you can explore the option of coverage through them. You can become self-insured by purchasing insurance directly from a health insurance company, or you can purchase insurance through the marketplace by visiting www.healthcare.gov. Depending upon your financial situation, Medicaid may also be an option.

While divorce will change many aspects of your life, health insurance being just one of them, you have many available options that will allow you to move forward independently with your life and with your healthcare.

Do you have a question related to health insurance for a divorced spouse? Please call us toll free at 866-971-2645 for a no-cost consultation where we can help advise you on this important topic.

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