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Divorce and health insurance

When couples in Pennsylvania decide to divorce, personal finances are often a primary concern. Initially, the couple may be focused on closing joint accounts, paying off shared credit cards, establishing support obligations and selling the marital home. A significant consideration that may be lost in the shuffle is that of health insurance.

In many marriages, both spouses are covered by the health insurance offered by one spouse's employer. This may be true even if both people work outside the home. When a marriage ends, so will the health insurance coverage even in a high-asset divorce. That's why it's important for both parties to be aware of the need for the non-employee spouse to arrange for insurance coverage as soon as the divorce becomes final.

During the divorce process, health coverage usually continues as normal. In many states, the law prevents someone from making any changes to his or her insurance policy until the divorce is finalized. However, once a divorce has been granted, the insurance coverage will likely end for the other spouse.

A spouse who loses his or her insurance coverage after a divorce has a few options. First, he or she may be entitled to extend his or her current policy under COBRA for up to 36 months. However, this is often a very expensive option. A working person may also qualify for coverage through his or her own employer as a divorce is considered to be a "qualifying event" that allows someone to apply for a policy outside of the open enrollment period.

Individuals who are considering divorce may want to consult with an experienced family law attorney. A lawyer may review a person's case and answer questions about the continuation of various employment benefits, including health insurance.

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