If you are going through the New Jersey divorce process, and your health insurance is currently covered through your spouse’s employer, you are going to need a plan for coverage in your post-divorce life. Typically, married couples handle their health insurance coverage through one of their employers. When the divorce is finalized only the employee remains on the plan and the other spouse must make alternate arrangements. As a divorce attorney I have found this to be a common problem when one spouse is not currently working or only works part-time to care for the home and/or children.
If you are going to lose your health insurance as a result of your divorce, it is critical to explore your options and come up with a plan of action before your divorce is finalized. The financial costs associated with your post-divorce health insurance can be a bargaining point in the proceedings and your soon to be ex-spouse may be required to pay for them. Listed below are the most common options for obtaining health insurance.
1) If you are working, the obvious first place to check is with your current employer. This tends to be the most cost-effective way to obtain the best possible coverage. Even if you work part-time your employer may have options for you. If part-time employees are not eligible to receive medical coverage, you may also explore the possibility of working full-time to obtain coverage (with the added benefit of a bigger paycheck!).
2) A second choice is COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconcilliation Act), a federal law requiring that when an individual no longer qualifies for a health insurance coverage through an employer (with more than 20 employees), that individual needs to be given the ability to continue coverage through the plan at their own expense. In other words, you can remain on the plan, but pay the full cost of the premium. Now, without the benefit of the company contribution, this can be an expensive option, but should be considered as the costs could become part of your spousal support as the court can order your spouse to pay your insurance premium as part of the settlement.
3) You can also contact various private health insurance companies about purchasing an individual plan. There are many insurance companies that offer this option to address the number of individuals who may find themselves without insurance coverage. The benefit is that you can tailor a policy to fit your individual needs (and budget) selecting certain types of coverage, deductible and co-pay amounts. This option can be pricy as well since as the consumer, you will pay the entire premium, but again, these costs can be negotiated during your divorce proceedings.
If you are in school either part or full-time, your college or university may have a student insurance policy available for purchase. These plans usually have options and levels but at a minimum should provide basic coverage.
4) If you are a member of an organization, such as a professional, alumni, or special interest group, you may have the ability to purchase health insurance. Just call the administrative number of the organization to ask about health insurance options.
If you are wondering how you are going to find and afford health insurance coverage, it is best not to stumble around on your own. Our team of experienced New Jersey divorce attorneys can help you decide which type of plan is right for you and then make sure the associated costs are not a financial hardship on your post-divorce budget. Call us today at (732) 246-0909 for a free consultation.