October 31, 2018 | Share
Health Insurance and Your Divorce: 5 Important Considerations
When going through a divorce, one of your primary goals should be to ensure that you will have adequate financial resources to support yourself and your children once your marriage is over. For many divorcing spouses (both parents and non-parents), a key financial consideration during the divorce process is health insurance. While health insurance is something that some divorcing spouses are lucky enough to take for granted, for others, ensuring access to coverage can be a critical component of a successful outcome.
If you are currently relying on your spouse’s health insurance and you are preparing to go through a divorce, here are five important considerations to keep in mind:
1. Do You (and Your Children) Have Access to Coverage Through Your Employer?
First, if you are currently working, do you have access to coverage through your employer? While you and your spouse may have been able to save money by combining coverage under one policy during your marriage, after your divorce you may need to enroll in your employer’s plan. Generally, getting divorced is a life event that allows for enrollment outside of an employer’s annual enrollment period.
2. Are You Eligible for COBRA Coverage?
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) is a federal law that requires employers to continue to offer health insurance coverage to employees’ former spouses for up to 36 months following a divorce. If you qualify for COBRA coverage and you do not have access to health insurance through your own employment, taking advantage of COBRA could help you save on premiums for the first few years after your marriage ends.
3. Are You Eligible to Seek Spousal Maintenance?
In Texas, you generally need to be married for at least 10 years in order to qualify for spousal maintenance (more-commonly known as “alimony”). But, if you qualify, negotiating an alimony award that provides for your health-related needs can provide years of financial security.
Importantly, there are exceptions to this 10-year limitation. If you will not be able to support yourself financially following your divorce, you should discuss your options with an attorney.
4. Do Your Children Have Special Health Care Needs?
In addition to thinking about your own health care coverage, if you have a child with special needs, you will need to factor these needs into your divorce strategy as well. While child support provides coverage for children’s basic medical needs, it may be necessary to negotiate additional financial support provisions in order to address the costs your child’s condition in the future.
5. Are You Prepared for Unexpected Health Care Expenses?
Finally, in addition to covering the cost of health insurance, it will be important to be prepared for unexpected medical expenses as well. Health insurance does not cover all types of injuries and illnesses; and, under some policies, deductibles and copays can be substantial. When thinking about your goals with regard to property distribution, you might want to consider setting aside some funds to cover any medical expenses you may incur.
Speak With a McKinney, TX Divorce Lawyer
If you would like more information about how to address health insurance-related considerations during your divorce, we encourage you to contact us for a free initial consultation. To speak with one of our McKinney divorce lawyers in confidence, please call (214) 726-1450 or inquire online today.
Categories: Family Law & Divorce