Divorce and Health Insurance: What Are My Rights?


In the midst of a separation, one of the most common concerns both spouses have is health insurance and one spouse’s obligation to maintain the family health insurance policy. Rightfully so, the concerned dependent spouse asks whether he or she, or even the children, will lose health insurance coverage upon separation. The spouse providing coverage asks if he/she is permitted to remove the dependent spouse upon separation. The answer to both of these questions is simply — no.  

If you do not have health insurance available to you at a reasonable cost, but your spouse maintains a policy which extends coverage to you, he/she cannot remove you from the policy until after a divorce decree has been entered. Upon filing for support, the court will enter a support order which will not only include his/her responsibility to maintain your coverage, but will also address the allocation of any unreimbursed medical expenses that may be incurred for you or your children

Upon the entry of the divorce decree, your coverage will be terminated under the employer-provided family health insurance policy. There is, however, an alternative to losing your insurance. You may be able to take advantage of the safeguard provided by the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, (commonly known as COBRA) which permits a spouse to maintain coverage following divorce, for up to 36 months.

The risk of losing your health insurance raises extremely important concerns for any individual going through a separation or divorce. Each case is different and may be more complex than others. It’s important to consult a well-versed family law attorney at Pollock Begg Komar Glasser & Vertz LLC to discuss the appropriate strategy for maintaining health insurance as long as possible.