When you’re getting a divorce, there are many important considerations. One of those—what happens to your health insurance during and after a divorce.
When a California divorce case is filed, there are immediate temporary restraining orders that issue and that affect both parties’ abilities to cancel coverage or change the beneficiaries of any insurance policies, including health insurance policies.
These are provided for under Family Code section 2040(a)(3). This means if you are covered by a health insurance policy at the beginning of a divorce—and especially if this is employment-related coverage provided by the other spouse—you will remain covered until the final judgment in your case is granted.
You could agree to terminate this coverage earlier, but you have little or no reason to do so prior to final judgment when you’re getting a divorce.
Getting a Divorce: Health Insurance After the Divorce Is Final
At the end of a divorce, and again especially related to employer-provided coverage, you will no longer be eligible for coverage since you will be a former spouse and these types of plans only cover eligible family members.
You will of course be offered COBRA coverage by the insurance plan, and if you choose to continue the coverage, you must notify them within 60 days of the divorce judgment, plus you will have to pay the premium yourself out of your own pocket.
This can be quite expensive, so it’s a good idea to shop around and see if you can find equivalent individual coverage through another plan, such as those listed at Covered California.
If you do elect COBRA coverage, you could stay on that plan for up to three years if your former spouse continues to work at the company and there are more than 20 employees at that organization.
Most of the time, with a smaller company, your COBRA coverage will end in 18 months, but for smaller companies with two to 19 employees, you can seek coverage through the Cal-COBRA program. This also applies if you have exhausted your 18 months of COBRA coverage and want to buy extended coverage through Cal-COBRA.
An Experienced Attorney Can Help When You’re Getting a Divorce
When you’re going through a divorce, an experienced divorce attorney can help you navigate the process, including issues related to finances and insurance.
If you are considering divorce or have already made the difficult decision to pursue divorce and have questions, contact JWB Family Law to schedule a free consultation.