How to Navigate Through Health Insurance After a Divorce
During a marriage, health insurance for the entire family may be provided through one spouse’s employer-sponsored health plan. If the marriage ends in divorce, the other spouse may find himself or herself with no health insurance. Fortunately, it is possible to enroll in a health plan if you have been left without coverage after a divorce.
When Can You Sign Up for Health Insurance After a Divorce?
Under normal circumstances, you can only enroll in a health plan during Open Enrollment, which is November 1 through January 15 of every calendar year. However, you qualify for a Special Enrollment Period if you were divorced within the past 60 days and lost health coverage. The Special Enrollment Period is a 60-day window after your divorce, during which you may enroll in a new health plan through a federal or state-based marketplace. If you fail to enroll within that time period, you will have to wait until the next Open Enrollment period to obtain health insurance.
Where Can You Get Health Insurance After a Divorce?
You may have several options for obtaining health insurance after a divorce:
In some cases, health insurance is included in the divorce settlement. You could ask that your soon-to-be-ex-spouse provide health insurance for you and your children after the divorce.
Otherwise, you have 60 days from the date your divorce is finalized to shop for and enroll in a health plan. You may use online tools to search for affordable healthcare plans in your state. Affordable Care Act plans all cover ten essential health benefits, including emergency and laboratory services. In some states, they also offer vision and dental coverage.
Another possibility is group health insurance if offered through your employer. This may be the most affordable way to obtain health insurance after a divorce if you have been dropped from your former spouse’s plan. With group health insurance, employers cover at least a portion of the monthly premiums.
You may consider COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) if you have lost health coverage due to a life event such as divorce. This would allow you to keep the same health plan you had before your divorce, with 60 days to decide if you want to continue coverage under COBRA. The disadvantage is the expense. With COBRA, you pay both the employee’s share and the employer’s share of the premium, plus an additional fee.
Short-term health insurance may be a temporary solution to provide you with some health coverage until you can find a different health plan. Coverage can last for anywhere from six to 12 months, depending on the state where you live. This insurance is inexpensive, and coverage may begin the day after your application. The disadvantage is that it does not provide as many benefits as standard health insurance.
If you are divorcing and concerned about your health insurance coverage, consult with our knowledgeable agent. We can help you find a health plan that provides the coverage you need for the lowest available premiums.