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How is health insurance handled after divorce?

When couples divorce, one of the challenges is maintaining health insurance for the “non-working” spouse or the spouse that works in the job without access to health care sponsored by the employer.

There are a number of options to the parties. Some elect to not divorce until some medical issues are resolved. Others consider divorce from bed and board. In divorce in bed and board, the divorce is resolved except they are not absolutely divorced in the eyes of the law, and likewise in the eyes of the employer and the employer’s health insurance carrier. I urge communicating with the health insurance carrier regarding their treatment of the divorce from bed and board before relying upon the option as a failsafe to maintain a non-working spouse on employer’s sponsored health insurance. COBRA is another option that permits the non-working spouse to remain on the employee spouse’s plan for 36 months. Premiums, plus an administrative fee of up to 4 percent of the premiums, will be required to be paid to the health insurance carrier or the employer.

“Obamacare”, the much debated federal health insurance program, is now online so that individuals can search for health care alternatives. A quick “Obamacare” web search under Ocean County,  New Jersey for a 46 year old non-smoker reveals plans with premiums as low as $281.32 per month not including any prescription coverage, up to a plan with a monthly premium of $1,637.00. Clearly the details will matter substantially when revealing the plans available to each individual.

In reviewing the important issue of maintaining some sort of health insurance post-divorce, the parties will want to look at the exchange as an option. The enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act “ACA” is from now until March 2014.