When an employee covered under an employer-sponsored health plan legally separates or divorces, the covered spouse and dependent children need to consider their options for health coverage. If the spouse has an employer health plan available at work, the spouse and any dependents may be eligible to special enroll in that plan. Or, they may be able to special enroll in health coverage through the Marketplace.
The spouse and any dependent children also may be eligible to continue their existing health coverage for up to 36 months. The plan should notify them of their right to purchase extended health care coverage under COBRA. Most plans require eligible individuals to make their COBRA election of coverage within 60 days of the plan's notice.
It's also important that you know the laws regarding your spousal rights to Social Security and retirement benefits. Under current law, spouses and dependents have specific rights. Retirement assets may well be the biggest financial asset in the marriage. Be sure to divide those assets carefully. It's also critical to review your overall financial situation before and after your divorce. Income typically drops for partners in the wake of a divorce, particularly for women.
- An Employee's Guide to Health Benefits Under COBRA | en español
- FAQs About COBRA Continuation Health Coverage
- COBRA Fact Sheet
- Workers' Rights to Health Plan Information Fact Sheet
- Life Events Impact Health Benefit Needs
- General Facts on Women and Job Based Health Benefits