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Divorce brings about a lot of potential issues and everyday worries that need to be resolved, such as who lives where and who gets the bank accounts.
One of the biggest worries for many divorcing couples is what happens to their health insurance once a divorce is finalized.
How your divorce impacts your health insurance coverage depends greatly on your individual insurance coverage situation prior to your divorce. Here are some common scenarios:
You Are Covered by Your Spouse’s Employer
If you have health insurance coverage through your spouse’s employer, either because you aren’t employed, your employer doesn’t offer insurance coverage, or you otherwise elect to not take your employer’s coverage, your health insurance coverage will terminate on the date your divorce is finalized.
Some employers may offer the option of COBRA coverage, which allows you to keep the same health insurance coverage for a fee. However, COBRA coverage often is expensive and, in some cases, you may find that purchasing your own health insurance coverage may be more affordable.
If you are in a situation where you have elected to take your spouse’s health insurance coverage even though your employer provides coverage, speak with your HR representative to ensure that you will be able to switch your coverage as soon as possible after your divorce so you don’t have a coverage lapse.
You Are Covered by Your Employer
In cases where you receive health insurance benefits through your own employer, your coverage will not change with your divorce.
If your spouse is covered by your group health insurance plan, their coverage will cease on the day of your divorce and, depending on your payment structure, your premiums may decrease to reflect fewer people being covered by your plan.
You Are Covered by Medicare or Medicaid Benefits
If you are covered by state (Medicaid) or federal (Medicare) health insurance benefits as a result of your income, your health, your age, or any other factors, doesn’t automatically change when you get divorced.
Any qualification factors you may have had for these programs prior to your divorce are still in place after everything is finalized, and your overall coverage eligibility shouldn’t change.
However, in the case of Medicare, a divorce may actually help you qualify for coverage that you wouldn’t get otherwise. You can use your ex-spouse’s employment history following your divorce to qualify for Medicare if you meet the following conditions:
- Your marriage lasted at least 10 years
- You are currently unmarried
- You have reached the age of 62
- Your ex is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits
- The benefit you would receive based on your work is less than the benefit you would receive based on your ex’s work
If you believe that you may qualify for Medicare benefits following your divorce, it’s worthwhile to inquire with the Social Security Administration about the process of applying.
You Have Coverage Through the Insurance Marketplace
For many Americans, the Affordable Care Act opened up access to health insurance coverage they didn’t have otherwise, regardless of their income, health conditions, and employment status.
If you are one of the people who is covered through a health insurance plan purchased on the marketplace, your coverage will not be terminated upon your divorce.
And, if your income drops below the levels that qualify for subsidies under the ACA, your health insurance premiums may even decrease after your divorce once your ex’s income is no longer counted.
Divorce Attorney in Washington, D.C.
Understanding all the ramifications of your divorce is enough to make a person’s head spin. At Lopez Law Firm, our skilled team helps guide you through the process, step by step, answering all your pressing questions. Schedule your consultation today!