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Don't let your health insurance coverage end with your marriage

If you are considering divorce or have begun the process, one of the things your attorney will likely ask you to think about is your health insurance coverage. If you are getting coverage through your spouse's plan, you will no longer be covered once the divorce is final. That means you should start considering your other options for coverage as soon as possible.

If you're not able or don't want to delay the finalization of your divorce decree until you can obtain coverage through your own employer or through Arizona's health insurance exchange at the beginning of the calendar year, you can continue your coverage on your spouse's plan through the Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act (COBRA) for up to 36 months.

As anyone who's had to use COBRA when they were between jobs knows, it can be expensive. Therefore, you may want to seek help from your spouse in covering the cost as part of your divorce settlement.

Another possible option is getting a legal separation rather than a divorce. However, as one Phoenix attorney says, "Legal separation may initially sound like a good option, but it almost never is," Gillespie says. "The rare instances where it would be recommended include religious or financial protection reasons."

Nonetheless, it may the best choice if you have major surgery planned or an ongoing condition for which you may not get the coverage you need under another plan. Note, however, that some insurers treat legal separation the same as divorce when it comes to spousal benefits. Therefore, find out if your insurance company covers legally separated spouses.

If you have children, you don't need to worry about them losing their insurance coverage. Insurance companies will continue to cover them after divorce. However, you and your spouse will need to determine whose plan they'll be on once you both have your own. That's something that you'll work out as part of the child custody and support agreements.

Your Arizona family law attorney can provide guidance to help you make sure that you continue to have health insurance one way or another after your divorce.

Source: Care2, "How Does Divorce Affect Health Insurance Coverage?," Jan. 22, 2018

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