Your health insurance may not be top-of-mind as you divorce. However, if you have been on your spouse’s policy, it’s important to be sure that you have your own insurance in effect by the time your divorce becomes final. Children can remain on a parent’s policy after divorce. However, coverage ends for a spouse with the divorce decree.
If your spouse is a current or retired federal employee and your coverage is through the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program, you likely have better options than someone under a spouse’s private employer-sponsored plan. However, it’s still necessary to take some action.
Do you qualify for continued FEHB coverage?
If you wish to stay on an FEHB plan after divorce and aren’t a federal employee or retiree yourself, you can do so as long as:
- You were on your spouse’s plan at any point in the 18 months leading up to the divorce.
- You are eligible to receive a portion of your spouse’s retirement or survival annuity.
- You apply to the appropriate federal agency’s employment office for continued benefits within 60 days of the divorce becoming final.
You can stay on an FEHB plan if you choose as long as you don’t remarry prior to turning 55.
If you don’t meet these requirements, you can still get a temporary continuation of coverage (TCC) for three years.
The cost of FEHB coverage is somewhat higher for a former spouse. That’s because you will need to pay the portion of the premium currently covered by the federal government. It’s probably wise to do a cost-benefit comparison of continuing FEHB coverage with a plan sponsored by your employer (if that’s an option) as well as plans offered under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in Maryland or wherever you will be living after the divorce.
Your children’s health insurance
As noted, if you have children, they can remain on your spouse’s plan after divorce. You can also choose to include them on your plan. As you work out your child support agreement or any other agreement regarding expenses for the kids, you’ll need to factor in the cost of their insurance.
While health insurance may be the last thing you want to contemplate now, you need to make sure you have uninterrupted coverage. Having sound legal guidance can help you manage this and the many other decisions you’ll be making for your future.