Health care is an important issue for anyone who is aging, but for those over 50 who may find themselves in the middle of a divorce, health insurance coverage can become a key source of contention. Knowing what approach to take when preparing for the future and being informed of your health care options will help you to be better equipped to handle a late-life divorce.
It is best to begin the planning process as soon as you know you and your spouse are separating. The least expensive option for health insurance is often provided by an employer, and maintaining this coverage should be a priority. However, if you are covered through your spouse’s employer, you may be entitled to COBRA coverage (named for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act). If this is not a possibility then individual private insurance may be the best place to start.
You can purchase individual health insurance through an insurance agent, company website or a mass purchasing group such as a credit union or an organization like the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). By consulting with agents and doing research early in the process you’ll learn valuable information that may impact the outcome of your divorce. This will also help you to provide your attorney with information that may be used to devise an appropriate strategy for your case.
As noted above, COBRA coverage is sometimes offered through your spouse’s employer. This coverage provides qualified beneficiaries up to 36 months of insurance coverage when certain events occur, including divorce. To ensure you receive the benefits, a plan administrator must be notified within 60 days of a finalized divorce decree. Be advised, however, that COBRA coverage is often significantly more expensive than the out-of-pocket costs of employer-supplied insurance. This is another reason to begin planning early and to strategize with your attorney to cover these costs.
Researching the best coverage and making sure all necessary documents are given to plan administrators and insurance agents can be a daunting and emotionally draining task. Having an experienced family law attorney on your side can be the difference in getting the coverage you need and can afford.
If you have questions about divorce and health insurance coverage, please contact the attorneys at Protokowicz & Rodier, P.A.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide about the subject matter. A licensed Maryland attorney should be sought about your specific circumstances.