Karen Ann Ulmer, P.C.
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Posts tagged "health insurance"

Health Insurance in Divorce

One frequent question in the context of divorce is what will happen to health insurance coverage. Generally, a spouse should not drop the other spouse while a divorce is pending. Health insurance is often addressed in the context of support and spouses are obligated to provide support for each other during the marriage. A support order can mandate a spouse to continue to provide health insurance. The obligation to carry health insurance for the other spouse ends at the entry of the final divorce decree. If you are unable to obtain alternate health insurance on your own right away you can look into COBRA coverage but this can be very expensive. More affordable options may be available on the healthcare marketplace.

Post-Divorce Healthcare Options

Once a divorce decree is issued, entitlement to health benefits as a spouse terminates. COBRA was enacted in 1986 and allows temporary healthcare continuation at group rates for ex-spouses. The ex-spouse is responsible for the entire premium. In that regard, it will likely be more expensive than the rate for the employee who is likely receiving an employer contribution toward the premium. Employers with 20 or more employees are required to offer COBRA coverage. The maximum coverage period in the event of divorce or legal separation is 36 months.

Insurance Policies

Questions regarding insurance policies often come up in the context of a divorce. Married couples may have commingled auto insurance policies, health insurance plans, and/or life insurance policies with their spouse as beneficiary. Technically, there are no rules on maintaining certain policies that existed at the commencement of the divorce in the sense that there is no automatic punishment or sanction for dropping these policies at separation. On the other hand, the courts have the power to order certain policies be maintained through their general equity powers in the period between separation and divorce. Perhaps, the most prudent action is to maintain all policies until finalization of the divorce or other mutual agreement or seek the advice of an attorney first to avoid the potential of additional fees that may be incurred if you are ordered to reinstate any policy and/or be responsible for any liability incurred while the other party was uninsured. Additionally, as it relates to health insurance specifically, it is routinely ordered as part of a support action and unreimbursed medical expenses, which can be substantial if there is a lapse insurance coverage, will also be shared.

Health Insurance for Children

Health insurance for minor children is an issue dealt with in the context of child support. If the children are presently covered under a plan through one of the parents, the children can remain on that plan. The other parent would then contribute to the premium being paid if applicable. This can be achieved by an increase over the guideline support amount if the party receiving support is paying the premium or a decrease if the parent who is receiving support is not the one providing the coverage. A change in which parent provides the coverage may be beneficial if one parent's coverage is better than the other or less expensive but with similar coverage. Sometimes, the motive in changing plans is for the parent paying support to reduce the support paid directly to the other parent by adding the children to their plan instead.

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