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Figuring Out Health Insurance After Divorce

 Posted on March 26, 2018 in Divorce

Figuring Out Health Insurance After DivorceOne of your first considerations after filing for divorce should be how it will affect your health insurance coverage because most spouses share an insurance plan. If your insurance plan is through your employer, you have little to worry about. You may be able to switch to a cheaper plan if you do not have children to cover. If you were on your former spouse’s health insurance plan, you will lose your insurance coverage. There are several ways to continue your health insurance after divorce, though some plans are expensive.

Joining an Employee Plan

Your own employer should be the first source you consider when looking for health insurance coverage. If your employer provides health insurance, you have likely been notified each year of your option to sign up for the employee plan during the open enrollment period. Your divorce is a qualifying event that allows you to enroll for employee health insurance at any time of the year, as long as you make the request within 30 days after filing for divorce. Employee health insurance is likely the most affordable and stable option you can have.

Individual Plans

Health insurance through work is not an option for some people because:

  • Their employers do not offer an insurance plan;
  • They do not work enough hours to qualify for the plan; or
  • They are self-employed or unemployed.

Through the Affordable Care Act, you can shop the health insurance marketplace for an individual plan that you can afford. However, your new insurance plan will not retroactively cover any medical expenses from the time you were removed from your spouse’s plan until you are enrolled in the new plan. It can take weeks for either the insurance provider or state Medicaid office to process your application and respond. You do have a 60-day advance period to start your application if you know you will be losing your health insurance due to divorce.

Continuing Coverage

If you want to remain on your former spouse’s insurance plan with the same benefits, you can apply for continuing coverage with the insurer. Continuing coverage prevents a gap in your insurance, but it is only temporary: 

  • The federal government offers COBRA insurance for a maximum of 36 months if you are losing your insurance due to divorce; and
  • Illinois Spousal Continuation Coverage lasts for two years if you are younger than 55 or until you qualify for Medicare if you are 55 or older.

You are responsible for paying the entire insurance premium, which can be as much as 102 percent of the group rate if using COBRA. To apply for continuing coverage, you must contact your former spouse’s employer and insurer within 30 days after filing for divorce.

Planning for Health

You must consider the future cost of health insurance when settling the financial aspects of your divorce. A DuPage County divorce attorney at Calabrese Associates, PC, can help you determine how you will continue your health insurance coverage after divorce. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-393-3111.


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