Health care and health insurance are very hot issues from many different perspectives. Two of the biggest concerns for most people are the cost of insurance and the ability to obtain or maintain insurance. These issues are no less important when facing a divorce. What people often do not realize is that when they get a divorce, they can no longer be dependent on their former spouse’s health insurance policy.
The reason is because once the divorce occurs you are no longer legally a dependent and therefore cannot legally remain on the policy. As a result, the cost of obtaining new insurance must be considered in spousal support awards – this impacts both parties. While the cost is often a manageable problem, the larger problem is if the spouse who is going to lose their health insurance cannot obtain new insurance due to a pre-existing condition. This is devastating. If a spouse cannot obtain new insurance as an individual, then alternative solutions must be explored, such as pursuing a legal separation instead of a divorce; obtaining employment where a group plan is offered; or COBRA and other subsidized options. The best way to handle this very expensive and difficult problem is for the parties to cooperate in the solution. An uncovered medical event is not in anyone’s best interest.