Will I Lose My Health Insurance When We Divorce?

Health insurance coverage is important for everyone and uncertainty about how coverage will be maintained during separation and after divorce is a sensitive subject. Each party has questions pertaining to when the dependent spouse’s coverage will end and who will pay for the coverage until it does.

Pennsylvania’s Divorce Code specifically provides that a “court may direct the continued maintenance and beneficiary designations of existing policies insuring the life or health of either party.” In addition to the court directing one spouse to continue health care coverage for the other, it will also address the anticipated unreimbursed medical expenses for the dependent spouse, each child, and the allocation of those costs between the parties.

You can read more about these issues as they are further discussed in our blog post where we discuss the Pennsylvania Rule of Civil Procedure.

It is important to note while Pennsylvania law requires a spouse to maintain health insurance coverage for the dependent spouse during the pendency of a divorce action, once the divorce decree is entered by the court, the dependent spouse will be removed from the health insurance policy provided by the spouse’s employer.

This does not necessarily mean the dependent spouse is left without insurance. An alternative, federally provided benefit may be offered to certain individuals.

The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, commonly known as COBRA, allows eligible individuals to continue coverage under the same plan, at their own expense. COBRA permits a divorced spouse to remain on the same health insurance provided by their spouse’s employer for up to 36 months. COBRA may or may not be the best alternative health care coverage for a divorced spouse depending on the spouse’s eligibility, the cost of the plan, and length of coverage required. While the insured spouse’s employer is no longer required to contribute to the dependent spouse’s coverage, in some cases the court may order the insured spouse to be responsible for a portion or all of the cost of the dependent spouse’s coverage.

If you are concerned about maintaining health insurance coverage during and after your divorce, speak to the experienced legal team at Pollock Begg Komar Glasser & Vertz LLC.

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