Divorce and Health Insurance

pediatric check upIt is no secret that health insurance can be extremely expensive, and in some cases, it can even be difficult to obtain. The availability of health insurance can be a serious concern for spouses when they are facing a divorce or separation, and this is especially true when there are children involved. If you are considering a divorce, it is important for you to understand your rights and responsibilities when it comes to health insurance.

During the divorce, very few changes can be made to the health insurance coverage for the spouses or the children. Federal law provides that an insurer may not drop the spouses or their children from health insurance coverage merely because of a pending divorce. In addition, the spouses themselves are prohibited from making unilateral changes to coverage while the divorce is pending. When a divorce is served upon the opposing party, a restraining order comes into effect prohibiting either spouse from changing or cancelling insurance policies, including health insurance that is in effect at the time the divorce is filed. This means that not only are you and your spouse restrained from cancelling the insurance for your spouse or children, you cannot make any changes to the policy to reduce the amount of benefits.

Health insurance coverage can and most likely will change for the spouses once the divorce is final. After the divorce has been finalized, the former spouse who is not the primary policy holder can continue health insurance coverage using the COBRA provision in many circumstances. The spouse wishing to continue coverage after divorcing the primary policy holder will be responsible for paying the entire cost of the policy for him or her, without the benefit of the portion that may have been covered by the former spouse’s employer. Alternatively, the spouse may instead be required to apply for his or her own group policy through his or her employer. The final divorce decree will also make provision for health insurance for the children. The final decree will likely require one of the parents to provide health insurance coverage for the children. The parent required to provide coverage is not always the primary custodian. The cost of the health insurance policy attributable to the children will then be apportioned between the parents based upon their respective incomes.

We have extensive experience helping our clients with all issues during divorce, including health insurance during and after the divorce is finalized. Call us today at (651) 371-9117 and we can discuss your case.