December 10, 2015

Health Insurance after Divorce

Divorce Finances

Healthcare has been a trending news topic for several years now, with the passage of Obamacare and the extension of insurance policies for millions of uninsured Americans. So if you are headed for divorce and have to reconsider what type of health insurance plan you will enroll in, it may be last on your list of things to figure out — it must be simple, right? As it turns out, healthcare is just as important to figure out before the divorce is finalized, as it is just as complicated (and should be treated as such) as other seemingly more pressing financial issues such as the splitting of a retirement plan or real estate assets.

One of the issues that makes healthcare more complicated are the periods of open enrollment, in which you can sign up for a plan. If you miss this open enrollment, you will not be able to obtain coverage until the next open enrollment plan. There are, however, special stipulations for recent divorcees, which allow a divorced person to enroll for 60 days after the general enrollment period has ended.

The cost of health insurance also varies wildly from year to year, and this unpredictability must be taken into consideration as best as possible as well. You may be used to paying lower family premiums — the cost for a single person’s plan can, in some cases, be much higher than the rate of coverage for a multi-person plan.

Many people question why they cannot stay on their spouse’s insurance plan after the divorce is finalized. For this very reason, many couples opt for a legal separation rather than a divorce, meaning that the non-employee spouse can stay on the employee spouse’s insurance plan for as long as the separation is valid. Children, however, can stay on the parents’ plan, even if that parent is non-custodial, or the child lives full-time with the other parent. After the divorce is final, the non-employee spouse can apply for COBRA coverage, but this type of coverage is temporary, with an expiration date of a maximum of three years.

If you or someone you know is considering divorce and have financial or any other type of questions, the most important step is to seek legal counsel. Do not go through it alone. Contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney today.