Good health insurance policies are becoming notoriously difficult to find
or afford, even after numerous government programs and plans. If you are
like many other Californians, you actually rely on your spouse’s
health insurance coverage for your own health issues. You might be troubled,
then, by what could happen to your policy if you legally separate.
Can You Lose Health Care Benefits in Legal Separation?
legal separation is definitively different from a
some insurance companies can consider them one and the same, which would
cause you to lose your benefits if you separate. You would only be entitled to stay on their insurance plan if a court
order specifically demanded that you not be removed due to your legal
separation. Your ex can also file a petition at any time to have you removed
from their health insurance but it needs to go through the court for approval;
this gives you a chance to argue why you still require the insurance.
There is a program called the
Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) that could permit you to stay covered under your ex-spouse’s
plan for a limited duration, regardless of what they might think. Under
COBRA, your benefits should not change but you would be held responsible
for premiums and copay amounts. It is essentially there to help keep you
afloat while you attempt to find your own health insurance elsewhere,
perhaps through gainful employment. If you are removed from their policy
despite COBRA or a court’s order to keep you on, legal action and
possibly litigation might be the only solution to right the situation.
Addressing Health Insurance Issues After Separation
The best way to avoid losing your health insurance benefits after going
through a legal separation may be to talk to your ex beforehand about
what is going to happen. If your divorce was amicable and
uncontested, they may have no problem keeping you on for a while. The important thing
is to get everything in writing; relying on someone’s word, especially
your ex’s, can be unstable ground in any consequent courtroom proceedings.
For help through this entire process, be sure to
contact our Murrieta family law attorneys from Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich. Attorney Danica Hanich is a
Certified Family Law Specialist with the California Board of Legal Specialization. For more than a decade,
she focused entirely on family law, divorce, and related fields.
For more information about legal separation and health insurance, call
(951) 506-6654 to
speak with a Murrieta divorce attorney.