If you are on your spouse’s health insurance plan, you probably have questions about what will happen to your coverage when you get divorced. This is an important issue, as health insurance premiums can be expensive, and any lapse in coverage could put you at risk for needing to cover substantial medical bills on your own. So, what are your options?
4 Options for Obtaining Health Insurance When Going Through a Divorce
There are four primary options for obtaining health insurance when you will lose coverage under your spouse’s policy as a result of your divorce. Whether each of these options is available to you will depend on your individual circumstances:
1. Getting on Your Employer’s Health Insurance Plan
If you have access to health insurance through your employer, then getting on your employer’s plan might be your best option. This is typically less expensive than buying private health insurance (more on this option below), and it gives you at least some flexibility to choose the coverage that is right for you. Additionally, if your employer offers the ability to set up a health savings account (HSA), you can contribute to this account over time so that you will have money set aside to cover your copays and deductibles.
2. COBRA Health Insurance Coverage
Another option that many divorcing spouses choose is to obtain COBRA health insurance coverage. COBRA is a federal law that Congress enacted to ensure that people who lose access to their health insurance (i.e., in the event of a divorce) do not have to deal with a gap in coverage. Under COBRA, if your spouse has a qualifying plan through his or her employer, you can keep the same coverage for up to 18 months without the need to apply for an entirely new policy.
3. Buying Private Health Insurance (Possibly with Spousal Support)
If you are not eligible for COBRA coverage or COBRA coverage is too expensive, another option is to buy your own health insurance coverage--either directly from an insurance company or under Obamacare (through HealthCare.gov). Under both options, you can also seek to have some or all of the cost of your health insurance paid by your former spouse. Spousal support can be used to cover the cost of paying for health insurance, and financial need is one of the key factors involved in spousal support determinations.
4. Medicare, Medicaid and Other Government Programs
Finally, for those who are eligible, Medicare, Medicaid and other government programs also provide options for coverage. Each of these programs has its own unique eligibility requirements. If these are options that you want or need to consider, our attorneys can help you determine whether you qualify for coverage under these programs.
Discuss Your Options with a New Jersey Divorce Lawyer in Confidence
If you are contemplating a divorce and have more questions about the process, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced New Jersey divorce lawyers. Call 877-435-6371 or contact us online to arrange an initial consultation today.