Health Insurance & Divorce
When a husband and wife are divorced, each may no longer remain a beneficiary of the other’s health insurance. A newly-uninsured former spouse may elect to obtain Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) coverage, whereby he or she may, for a period of time, continue with the same health care coverage he or she had before the divorce. COBRA coverage is available for three years after a divorce. That coverage will have its own, separate premium costs.
In New York State
In New York State, when a Summons is served upon the defendant commencing an Action for Divorce, the Summons is usually accompanied by a notice indicating that, once the Judgment of Divorce is signed, either or both parties to the action may or may not be eligible to be covered on the other party’s health plan, depending upon the terms of the plan.
If the husband and wife enter into an Agreement resolving all of their issues, their Agreement must contain certain provisions regarding health insurance coverage. In particular, the Agreement must either provide for the future coverage of each party, or state that each party is aware that he or she will no longer be covered by the other party’s health insurance plan, and must also provide that each party shall be responsible for his or her own health insurance coverage and may be entitled to purchase health insurance on his or her own through a COBRA option, if available.
This statutory requirement may not be waived by either party or by their counsel. If not complied with, the court must require compliance and may grant a 30 day continuance to afford the parties an opportunity to procure health insurance coverage.
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