With all of the recent attention given to health insurance coverage, many divorcing parties are paying attention to their own coverage situations. While most people do not give much thought to the prospect of how they will maintain their health insurance coverage post-divorce, this can be a very important issue.
When there is one spouse who maintains insurance coverage for the entire family, and perhaps another spouse who has no access to health insurance (due to lack of employment outside of the home, self-employment, etc.) payment for health insurance can become a point of contention in a divorce. Many people are unaware that once parties are divorced, most health insurance companies will not continue to cover the ex-spouse through a family insurance plan (although the plans WILL continue to cover the minor children).
As a result, many uninsured ex-spouses must look towards coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act or COBRA, which will only provide continued coverage for a period of time. Additionally, COBRA coverage can prove costly. Due to the added cost of insurance coverage, it is important for the party who will be uninsured post-divorce to know the cost of health insurance coverage when considering his or her need for spousal support. It is important to ask what the cost of COBRA coverage will be and how long will it be offered. The uninsured party should think ahead as to what the plan will be when COBRA coverage is no longer available. The uninsured spouse will need to provide for his/her own health insurance coverage either through employment or otherwise.
While the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (more generally known as “Obamacare”), may have some effect on the uninsured spouse’s access to and cost of insurance coverage, it is too soon to know what that effect may be. As such, it is important for a divorcing spouse to consider his or her options while negotiating the terms of his or her divorce. Posted by Robyn E. Ross, Esq.