Health insurance is an extremely valuable thing, but maintaining adequate coverage can prove complicated when a couple divorces. Women are particularly challenged by issues of insurance coverage after a divorce. During a marriage, one spouse typically maintains health insurance coverage through an insurance plan that is offered at the company where the individual works.
While there are some options available to families in danger of losing health insurance coverage during a divorce, it is often important to analyze a family’s health insurance situation before a divorce and to remember some important things about the effect that divorce can have on health insurance coverage.
Health insurance coverage is viewed as a valuable item by courts of law. Some divorce settlements order one spouse to continue to providing health insurance coverage for the other spouse after divorce. Divorce settlements particularly tend to list insurance coverage as a term of divorce when a spouse has functioned in a homemaker position and does not have ready access to health insurance.
Spouses who have an insurance plan might be required to pay additional premiums in order to cover a former spouse and any children. This situation can quickly become complicated if an individual remarries and desire to include a new spouse and children on the same insurance policy.
If a spouse is not required to continue providing health insurance after a divorce, a spouse might risk the termination of insurance coverage. If available, individuals can decide to become covered by their own employer’s insurance plan. Under federal law, individuals who have lost access to other types of health insurance may enroll in an employer’s plan outside the annual open enrollment period.
When faced with the loss of insurance coverage, spouses should make sure to determine how much the cost of insurance premiums will be and research new health insurance options. Temporary insurance coverage is often available through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act or COBRA.
COBRA was designed to provide insurance coverage for individuals who are in a period of transition. Many individuals, however, find that COBRA is prohibitively expensive and instead seek private insurance coverage which is less expensive and more permanent than COBRA.
Another substantial obstacle presented by COBRA is that COBRA coverage lasts no longer than 36 months, which means that individuals must have a plan for insurance coverage following the end of COBRA or risk being uninsured.
Some couples, when faced with insurance coverage issues, choose to become legally separated rather than divorce. A legal separation does not dissolve the bonds of marriage, but individuals can separate various issues like custody, support, and property division.
If you have questions concerning the potential effect that divorce will have upon your health insurance coverage, consider contacting a knowledgeable attorney with Alabama Divorce & Family Lawyers, LLC who can help clients with many situations that arise during a divorce.
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