Court-Ordered Health Insurance After a Divorce

When going through a divorce, you may be wondering if you and your dependents can remain on your spouse’s health insurance during and after the divorce. This is an important factor to consider during your divorce. Laws regarding this vary from state to state.  However, in Arizona spouses and children do have the right to remain on the other party’s insurance plan during the divorce. This is a protected right and one that can be sought through a preliminary injunction that will prevent your spouse from removing you and your children from their health insurance policy. If your spouse were to drop you and your children from the plan prior to submitting a preliminary injunction, you can then seek a court order to be reinstated.

Keep in mind, however, that when it comes to health insurance you are treading muddy waters once the divorce is finalized. While Arizona law ensures that dependent children will remain on the health insurance plan, the spouse will likely be dropped and need to find alternative health coverage. Your spouse may agree to keep you on their plan but the insurance company has the right to drop you once the divorce is final. Furthermore, if the health insurance plan is sponsored by an employer, by law they have no obligation to continue to pay the premiums associated with your health coverage. All in all, the health insurance provider can insist you are dropped from the plan all together.

No matter if your spouse has the intention of applying for insurance through healthcare exchanges, joining an employer plan at their place of work, or converting to a new policy with the same provider, the health insurance premiums should be addressed during the divorce. In some cases, the spouse who is the primary financial provider will be required to pay for their spouse’s health insurance for a period.

Who Covers Health Insurance Costs after a Divorce?

Oftentimes, a divorce that occurs within a single-income household requires the spouse with employment to pay for the ex-spouse’s health insurance until this spouse remarries. However, many households today are considered dual income, meaning there is no guarantee of getting health care costs covered by an ex-spouse. In fact, in this case each party could end up being responsible for acquiring and paying for their own health insurance and premiums once the divorce is final. The outcome depends on the particulars of each divorce case.

Utilize an Experienced Divorce Attorney

Because of the complex issues associated with health insurance, it’s important to work with an experienced divorce attorney to get the results you want. You should never count on your ex-spouse to fulfill your health insurance needs. He or she could agree to do this and then change their pledge. For this reason, you must make health insurance a priority during divorce negotiations and come to an agreement in writing. Once the divorce is final, you can seek a court order to enforce the agreement, which will hold your ex-spouse accountable to what they agreed upon during the divorce proceedings.

What are Health Insurance Coverage Orders?

During the divorce proceedings, when you are crafting the terms of health coverage, it’s important to consider contingencies. These can include how much your ex-spouse must pay toward your premiums and how long they will pay for this. Also, be sure to address who will pay for higher premium costs if this should arise. In addition, you need to plan for unemployment, job changes, and the changing of insurance providers. If your spouse breaks the agreement solidified during the divorce, the court will not seek out your ex-spouse on their own. This is something you need to do with the help of an attorney.

Modifying the Agreement or Court Order

Life changes and you need to be prepared for this. It is possible that a change may occur that would require you to amend the settlement agreement or court order. This can be done with the consent of both parties. However, if you and your ex-spouse are unable to reach an agreement during the negotiations, you have the right to file a court order and bring the issue in front of a judge.

Loss of Health Insurance after a Divorce

The thought of losing your health insurance due to a divorce can be stressful. However, it is easy to obtain health insurance today, especially when children are involved. Health insurance providers consider a divorce a qualifying life event that makes you eligible for a special enrollment period. In fact, by law, you have 60 days to join a new health insurance plan once you go through a life changing event such as a divorce. This gives you plenty of time to find a new health insurance provider while you are still covered. To start with, look to your employer for new health coverage. If a policy is not available, you can go through the healthcare exchanges that have been put in place by the Affordable Care Act. These government plans, such as Medicare, are an alternative option for health coverage for you and any dependents.

In some cases, a health insurance provider will convert a married or family policy into an individual policy. If you are happy with your health insurance provider, remaining with then after the divorce is an option. Call your health insurance provider to see if they allow this change. In some cases, they may be willing to keep your children on the policy and then put you on an individual policy.

You may also need to consider COBRA insurance – the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. This act allows you to remain on your health insurance policy while you look for a new one. The downside to this, however, is cost. You may have to pay the entire premium each month, which can be much higher than what you or your spouse is paying now.

To learn more about keeping you and your dependents covered under a health insurance policy during and after a divorce, contact the experts at The Sampair Group today. Our team can be reached at 623-777-3926.

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