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Health Insurance and Divorce

Health insurance coverage is among the many financial matters affected by a divorce in NJ. Many married couples are covered by a family health insurance plan through one spouse’s employer. Once the couple is divorced the spouse who was covered by the other’s health insurance plan will need to figure out how to obtain his or her own health insurance coverage.

It is important to understand that non-spouses cannot be covered by an employer’s health insurance plan. Even if the divorcing spouses have a good relationship and wish to stay on the same health insurance plan, once the divorce is final, the ex-spouses are no longer family and cannot be covered as family members. This is why you need to consult with a NJ divorce attorney if you are thinking about a divorce..

Options for Maintaining Health Insurance Coverage

There are several options for obtaining health insurance coverage for the non-employee spouse.

  1. COBRA
    The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) is a federal program that allows covered employees, former spouses, and dependent children to be offered health insurance coverage it would otherwise be lost.

    While this may be a good option if you wish to keep the same insurance plan you were on as a family, there are some downsides to using COBRA. First, it is usually significantly more expensive than the amount the employee would have paid, since the employer typically pays for some of the cost. Next, COBRA is meant to be a temporary solution for health insurance coverage, so it only lasts up to 36 months.

  2. Obtain Coverage Through Your Employer
    Obtaining your own health insurance plan through your employer is usually a better option than COBRA, so if your employer offers it, you should consider signing up. It is usually much cheaper than COBRA and is a more permanent option.

  3. Purchase Your Own Plan
    If your employer does not offer a health insurance plan or you do not work, there are still options available for purchasing a health insurance policy. The Affordable Care Act allows you to purchase an individual policy through a health insurance marketplace that may be a good option for you.

Paying for Coverage

All of the above options typically end up costing more than the family plan that you may have been covered under while married. If the insurance premiums are an issue, you may wish to have your divorce settlement include a provision requiring your ex-spouse to pay for your health insurance premiums for a certain period of time. This may be especially important in the case of a spouse who did not work outside the home and cannot obtain a health insurance policy through an employer.

Health Insurance Coverage for Dependent Children

While a divorce in NJ will trigger the end of health insurance for an ex-spouse on an employer-sponsored plan, it does not affect the coverage of dependent children. As part of the divorce process the spouses will need to determine how the premiums for the children’s health insurance policies will be paid, but the coverage through the employee’s policy may continue despite the divorce.

Losing health insurance coverage is often a major financial blow when a couple divorces. If you have questions about maintaining your health insurance coverage after divorce, call Peter Van Aulen a NJ divorce attorney at 201-845-7400 for a free initial consultation.

Client Reviews
Peter has integrity, and values his relationships with his clients beyond his financial relationship with them. For me to say this about any lawyer is really saying something. He is compassionate, straightforward and knowledgeable. I would easily recommend him to anybody. Lewie W.
Peter Van Aulen handled my case with great diligence and integrity. He is also a compassionate individual who realizes what a difficult time divorce can be emotionally. Peter works hard and doesn't take any shortcuts in preparing for a case… I highly recommend Mr. Van Aulen and his staff. Chuck Solomon
Peter is an exceptionally great attorney. He handled my child custody case and was able to ease any of my concerns with honest answers. He always took the time to explain the pros/cons and was always available to answer any questions that I had… I would highly recommend this attorney to anyone who is looking for one. Jessica Cruz
Peter Van Aulen is a very compassionate, honest and straightforward person. He was there for me at my lowest point with a genuine concern not only for my situation, but for me and my child's well being above all… He is fair and he is strong and when push comes to shove he is there for you. Cathy Dodge
Our cousin used Peter's law office to help with a sticky custody situation. He was extremely responsive, very nice and most importantly did an awesome job with the court! He is awesome. Lawrence Polsky

*Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances