I help Houston divorcing couples find mutually agreeable settlements. Frequently, part of that settlement is finding suitable health insurance for the unemployed spouse.
I give my clients homework. Get this document, copy these statements and so forth. The most neglected homework assignment is to obtain health insurance quotes. Perhaps it is a scary thing to do. I give them a referral to a great health insurance agent, but still, they procrastinate.
Many can get COBRA through their spouse’s employer. But it is important to check out all your options. COBRA coverage is usually more expensive than health coverage for employees, because the employer typically pays part of the premium for the employees. If you are the divorced spouse who is covered with COBRA, you are going to pay the entire premium without the benefit of an employer subsidy.
As a former spouse, you can elect to continue the COBRA coverage for as long as 36 months. Check with your spouse’s Human Resources department for the exact length of time. In Texas, your coverage might be only for 18 months. The plan administrator for the health plan has about 14 days to notify the person of their right to get the COBRA coverage. The person needing COBRA coverage must contact the plan administrator within 60 days of the divorce or legal separation.
Most importantly, get your health insurance options straight early in the divorce so you can make an informed decision and negotiate for the premium expenses during the property settlement discussions.
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