When you’re approaching a divorce, there are a ton of “moving pieces” that you have to sort out – everything from where you’re going to live to how you’re going to divide up the marital assets (and the marital debts) becomes a new concern.
But, what about your medical insurance coverage? Since it’s common for one spouse to cover the other (along with the kids) under their insurance plan, this can become a pressing issue. Here’s what you need to know:
There’s no immediate need to panic
Until the divorce is final, the court will generally impose temporary orders that maintain the status quo on a number of issues – including insurance coverage. This gives both parties time to make plans and adjustments.
Once the divorce is final, however, so does the coverage for the dependent spouse. (This is not true where any minor children are concerned. Usually, the court will order the parent with medical coverage to keep their dependent children on their plans.)
You can use the insurance costs as a negotiation point
If you’re the dependant spouse, it’s wise to keep in mind the fact that you’re now going to have to either:
- Obtain your own employer-sponsored health insurance through your work
- Pay the entire premium to remain covered under your spouse’s plan for up to 36 months, which is possible under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA).
- Buy insurance through the open marketplace with a provider of your choice.
All of these are viable, but they also can be expensive. That makes the cost of your coverage a significant factor when you’re negotiating for a fair division of the marital assets or spousal support.
This is just one of the issues that people need to anticipate when they’re going through a divorce. Experienced legal guidance can make it much easier to look ahead and find solutions.