While health insurance may not be your primary concern as you divorce, it’s crucial for those who have relied on their spouse’s employment for their own health insurance coverage to take steps to make sure they have coverage once that divorce decree is signed. Spouses of federal employees and retirees are better off in that area than many spouses of those who work in the private sector.
If you have Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) coverage through your spouse, you can have continued coverage as long as you meet the FEHB “spouse equity” provisions. These are the following:
- You were covered under your spouse’s Self Plus One or Self and Family plan at least one day during the 18 months before your divorce.
- You are entitled to receive part of your spouse’s retirement or survivor annuity.
- You apply for continued FEHB benefits within 60 days after your divorce is final.
If you meet these qualifications, you can continue on an FEHB plan as long as you don’t remarry before you turn 55.
Your children’s health insurance
Most divorcing spouses choose the Self Only plan. However, if you are including your child(ren) under 26 on your plan, you can choose one of the other two plans mentioned above.
One of the things you and your spouse will need to work out if you have children who rely on a parent’s insurance plan is to determine whose plan they will be on and how the cost of that coverage will be handled.
If you have children, you’ll need to determine whether they’ll remain on your spouse’s plan or you’ll add them to yours. Whatever your decision, their coverage and how it will be paid for should be part of your child support agreement.
Of course, continued FEHB coverage may not be your best option. You may get better coverage through your own employer or through HealthCare.gov. However, it’s wise not to wait until your deadline is nearing to decide what you’ll do.
There’s a lot to think about as you divorce. Having sound legal guidance can help you be in the best possible position to move into your post-divorce life.