When you undergo a divorce, figuring out health insurance for you and your dependents is absolutely critical. Currently, state laws vary regarding whether an ex-spouse can continue to benefit from one’s health insurance plan after divorce.
If you want to know more about Washington Court Ordered Health Insurance after divorce, a Tacoma Divorce Attorney can guide you.
Court Ordered Health Insurance after Divorce in Washington
In Washington State, after a divorce, an ex-spouse is no longer eligible for coverage on the other party’s health insurance plan. However, divorcees are entitled by federal law to continue receiving health coverage under COBRA for a maximum of 36 months. But, one’s plan will change from “family” to “individual” and the rate might go up. COBRA benefits are meant to be temporary, and an ex-spouse should look into other health insurance options immediately.
Sometimes, a spouse making payments for spousal maintenance might be mandated to provide medical coverage for the former spouse.
During divorce proceedings in court, when couples are crafting terms of insurance, it’s essential to consider contingencies. That may include how much one spouse must pay toward the other party’s premiums, and for how long they’ll pay. Moreover, it’s essential to address who’ll be responsible for paying higher premiums should the issue arise. Planning for unemployment, occupational changes, and the change of insurers is also important.
However, a change can happen that would necessitate amending a court order or settlement. That may be done with the consent of both spouses. But if they can’t agree, they can file a court order and present the matter in front of a judge.
Spouses are usually ordered by the court to maintain health insurance for the children. However, a spouse might be unable to keep the health coverage for their former partner after the divorce.
If one’s spouse works for an organization with at least 20 employees, they qualify for continued coverage in the employer’s plan. That’s according to the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA).
If the organization has less than 20 employees, the ex-spouse may qualify for continued coverage under the mini-COBRA coverage state laws. However, the state of Washington does not have mini-COBRA.
- Nonetheless, the spouse’s employer is required to offer COBRA cover for the former partner. But, that can only happen if the ex-spouse notifies the medical coverage administrator within 60 days of finalizing the divorce. Failing to provide proper notice may lead to the loss of one’s right to the COBRA health plan.
- However, COBRA may not be the best option for those who can obtain medical insurance through their employer. Under COBRA, one is responsible for the whole premium amount. If one’s employer provides health insurance at little or no charge, then they’re better off getting insurance through the employer. Additionally, other private health insurance plans are cheaper and more permanent than COBRA coverage.
- The COBRA coverage for an ex-spouse comes to an end within 36 months. Hence, one needs to be ready for the coverage to stop and new medical insurance to replace it.
Due to the complex issues linked to health insurance coverage, it’s important to consult an experienced divorce attorney at Alliance Law Group we help clients tackle divorce matters within the laws in Washington State. Call us at 253-581-0660 today for a free initial consultation.