What Happens to Health Insurance During a Divorce?
February 15, 2022
Health insurance can be a tricky thing to traverse if you are not an insurance agent or if you have not handled your own insurance before that point. During a divorce, health insurance becomes especially tricky and can be a huge bone of contention between two people. Knowing how to protect your health insurance coverage during a divorce is a must.
Safe to say it is among one of the most important things to consider when filing for a divorce.
What is Dependent Status?
If you are part of a family health plan and you are covered on your spouse’s policy you are considered a dependent. This means that you are dependent on that spouse for health insurance coverage. If you are divorced or legally separated, you lose the dependent status and you are no longer going to be eligible for coverage on that particular plan.
Dependent status means that you are married to your spouse and that you can be considered dependent on them to a certain degree. To be covered on the health insurance of a spouse, you will be listed as a dependent as will any children that are also covered on the policy. These dependents are going to be covered under the health insurance of the individual and they are going to be considered to be dependent as long as you remain married or with children until they are 26 and can no longer be covered on the plan of their parents.
When Do you Lose Dependent Status?
The loss of dependent status does not occur immediately. Instead, as long as no legal paperwork or no legal separation has been filed, it is the discretion of the spouse that holds the policy if you continue to get coverage. Insurance companies are going to treat a legal separation in the same way as they would treat an official divorce and they will sever the dependent status of the spouse that does not hold the policy.
If you do not file legal papers of separation or you do not file for divorce, technically you can stay on the health insurance policy until the person holding the policy terminates it or changes it. Some government insurance is not going to change the overall dependency and might not terminate when there is a legal separation. With government insurance, you may be required to actually go through with the divorce for the insurance to terminate and for your dependent status to change.
When in doubt, it may be beneficial for you and your former spouse to sit down with an insurance agent or with a representative of your insurance company to figure out just where you stand. They can better explain your standing and can help you figure out when your policy is going to change, what you can do about it, and what your options are following a divorce and following termination of the marriage. They can also tell you legally what you are entitled to and what options you have in terms of changing or altering an existing policy and figuring out what is going to work best for all parties involved.
What Happens to Children on a Plan?
With children, the plan is completely different. They are going to be dependent on the person holding the plan until they reach the age of 26 or until they are taken off of the plan by the plan holder. The reason for this is that the children are still the children of the plan holder, even if divorce occurs. In this case, the person that is taken off of the plan may want to get their own health insurance and place the children on their plan. If that is the case, they may want to talk directly to the insurance company of their choice to determine what the process of getting a new policy may be.
Marital status does present as a life change or a qualifying event. This means that even if open enrollment is closed, this life-changing event does qualify you to apply for a new plan outside the scope of the enrollment period. This helps to ensure that everyone has a chance to get the health coverage that they need, even if you are divorced and you are not able to stay on the plan of your spouse that you were on before.
How Can Health Insurance Be Written into a Divorce?
There are some cases in which an insurance plan can be written into divorce documents and into the proceedings. If the marital status is terminated early, the court can require that the spouse maintain health insurance coverage for the other spouse until such a time as they can get coverage of their own. Also, if one spouse is entitled to alimony this can be part of the alimony agreement.
In some cases, spouses agree to maintain the health care coverage of their former spouses, even after divorce. If you are divorced but are required to maintain the insurance coverage of your former spouse, you can get around the dependent clause with your insurance company. You must show them a copy of the divorce agreement and the court order so that they can keep the former spouse on your insurance as a dependent, even though you are not married any longer.
If this is the case, you do need to be forthcoming and you do also need to be quick with providing the documentation. Though your insurance company is not going to immediately terminate coverage in the event of a divorce if you do have extenuating circumstances that are going to require that you keep your spouse on your plan you should provide those documents as soon as you have them to keep the insurance coverage uninterrupted.
In some cases, your former spouse may be required to pay for the medical costs that would have been covered by the insurance if they are not going to be able to keep you on the policy. Your lawyer and the insurance company themselves can help you better understand the process and figure out what should be done to ensure that you are going to have healthcare coverage 18 wheeler accident lawyer San Antonio and that you are not going to have to worry about your health care.
When to Get a Lawyer
With any divorce, it is always best to get a lawyer as soon as you can. This is going to help you get the best settlement and is also going to help you ensure that you are legally entitled to insurance if you are not the policyholder. A great lawyer is going to be able to help negotiate your divorce and is also going to be able to argue in favor of your keeping your insurance.
It can be hard enough to deal with a divorce, but losing your insurance on top of that can make things even more stressful. With the help of a great lawyer, you can figure out the insurance situation and you can figure out what you are entitled to in the event of a divorce. It can be hard to understand what your options are but with the help of a lawyer, you can get the coverage you need.