A recent article by Laura Langenburg in Dads Divorce outlines the health insurance challenges men may face during and after divorce.
The courts will usually require parties to maintain status quo during the divorce proceedings– men will need to continue paying for their wives’ insurance if they were paying during the marriage. Maintaining health insurance after a Judgment of Divorce is filed doesn’t always require a party to maintain health insurance on another party… and that may be out of your control.
Many employer-provided insurance plans cover family members at a discounted rate under terms agreed to between the health insurance company and the employer. Once a husband divorces his wife, his insurance may no longer be offered to the ex-wife. This is determined between the husband’s employer and the insurance company.
This issue is addressed by a federal legislation titled the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). COBRA requires that people who lose insurance are entitled to continue to be covered under that health insurance plan up to three (3) years after losing the coverage. This applies to spouses that lose health insurance coverage due to divorce.
But, COBRA states that the individual will be responsible for the insurance coverage up to 102% of the cost of the plan. Insurance premiums through COBRA are generally extremely expensive and many parties are unable to afford these premiums. It might be smart to have your wife look into coverage that will be afforded through the rapid changes made by the new Health Care Reform Act passed by the federal government.
If you’re concerned about your ex-wife not receiving health insurance, you might consider a separation instead of a divorce. Often, insurance companies will continue to cover a spouse under a legal separation as the parties are not divorced.
Be sure to discuss all your options with an experienced attorney, as health insurance post-divorce can be confusing and complicated.