YOU ASK:

Can my former spouse continue coverage under my health insurance plan?

WE ANSWER:

Yes, you can opt to have your former spouse continue the coverage. He or she may do so through COBRA. This allows your former spouse to still enjoy coverage for up to three years after your divorce.

Here are some points to remember about continuing coverage under COBRA:

  • Your former spouse will no longer be covered as a dependent under your family plan. Instead, he or she will be under an individual plan.
  • He or she will have to shell out the amount that should have been your employer's share of the premiums. The problem with COBRA is that it may prove to be too expensive.
  • You will have to put this option into writing, because opting to continue COBRA after a divorce is not automatic, you have to be the one to apply for it.
  • There are qualifying events that may cause the coverage to stop, like when your former spouse remarries or gets a job that also offers health insurance coverage.

Take note, you are under no obligation to continue the coverage unless this is part of your divorce settlement agreement or by order of the divorce court.

Even if your spouse can't be covered under your health insurance plan, he or she will still have other options:

  • Getting covered through his or her employer. If your spouse is employed, he or she can still get coverage.
  • Buying insurance in the individual market.

The important thing with health insurance and divorce, especially if there are children involved, is that both spouses should have coverage to ensure your health so that you both are able to earn a regular income to provide for your family.

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