What to do About Health Insurance After Divorce
Nearly 115,000 women annually lose private health insurance in the months after a divorce. More than half of them will lose their coverage in the long term. With divorce rates at an all-time high in the United States, the impact of divorce on women’s insurance and health is dramatic.
In usual situations, an insurance carrier will end their coverage for the divorced spouse, due to the fact the spouse is no longer considered “related” to the named insured. In most cases, the court cannot stop this action. However, there are other alternatives for those spouses than simply going without insurance.
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (more commonly known as COBRA) provides continuation of group health coverage that might otherwise be terminated. If certain criteria are met, COBRA gives former spouses the right to temporary continuation of health coverage at group rates. COBRA coverage is paid for by the spouse seeking coverage and can be quite expensive, but due to the group rates, it is typically less expensive than individual private insurance.
COBRA benefits are only available for a certain amount of time after a divorce and terminate after the maximum time has expired. Arrangements for insurance must be made prior to the ending of COBRA, or there will be a break in coverage at the end of the maximum period. Planning ahead for the lapse in coverage and picking options for health care at the end of COBRA can minimize the length of time spent uninsured.
If you’ve recently gotten a divorce, or are considering one, and are afraid you’ll be left without health insurance, contact a qualified St. Paul divorce lawyer as soon as possible. Spending a long time uninsured can have drastic ramifications on your health and pocketbook, and a family law expert can help you get the coverage you need.