Divorce and Health Insurance Benefits

Human behavior in any relationship is very complicated. In terms of marriage, till one is in harmony with each other all steps are taken in unison. However, the moment discord sets in; each party tries to pull the maximum benefits towards his or her end.

Health insurance is an issue that always poses problems in event of divorce. The reason being that in most cases, the policy is in the name of the provider with the family members or dependents being automatically covered. A home maker spouse seeking divorce normally ends up with no health insurance benefits as the individual no longer conforms to the term of ‘family member’. Also, at times the other party’s work organization may not provide health insurance benefits at all. Such circumstances assign this issue open for negotiation.

For those who do not presently enjoy health insurance benefits and the parties involved are not in an individual capacity to bear the expenses, holding up the divorce would be the best available option. However, one may go ahead and file for a separation agreement. Through this alternative, despite being separated the two parties can share their health insurance benefits. The divorce can finally be filed a few years later with their joint consent. However, since the laws pertaining to a separation agreement vary in different states, professional guidance may prove beneficial.

A second valid option comes in the guise of COBRA coverage. This is a federal law granting an individual the right to continue being covered by a health insurance policy at their own cost for a stipulated span of time. Circumstances of divorce wherein one party is covered by a family health insurance through the employer, COBRA could aid in obtaining insurance benefits for the other party from the employer even after the dissolution of marriage. However, the party availing the benefit through COBRA needs to reimburse the cost of the employer for the policy. There are cases in which this amount is borrowed from the separating spouse till one attains financial stability.

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