Health insurance is an important consideration for most people, given the high cost of medical bills. Without health insurance, a catastrophic illness or injury can quickly drive a family into bankruptcy. In many situations, one spouse may have covered the other spouse and children on his or her employer-sponsored health insurance plan throughout their marriage. This may be the case because the other spouse did not work full-time or did not have insurance available through his or her employer. When the parties divorce, however, health insurance coverage is no longer available for a former spouse. This means the individual who is left without insurance following a divorce must consider his or her options for obtaining another source of medical insurance coverage.

Under a federal law called the Consolidated Omibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), an individual who no longer has insurance through his or her former spouse due to a divorce has the right to continue that insurance coverage for up to 36 months following the date of the divorce. However, you will have to pay for the insurance coverage at a rate that is likely to be significantly higher than what your ex-spouse had been paying as an employee. If you choose COBRA coverage, you must notify your ex-spouse’s employer of your choice to do so within 60 days of the divorce. Therefore, you should immediately begin looking for another source of insurance coverage.

It often may be your least expensive option to obtain insurance coverage through your own employer, if available. If your employer does not offer insurance coverage or you do not qualify for your employer’s insurance coverage, then you may wish to look for another job at which health insurance coverage would be available to you.

Finally, you may be able to purchase a private insurance plan through your state or through an insurance company. This may be a realistic option if you are simply looking to bridge a gap while you find a job with coverage, or if you just need catastrophic coverage.

Pacific Northwest Family Law knows how to handle all of the different issues that Washington divorce cases involve, including issues related to health insurance coverage. We understand how emotional and stressful these types of cases can be, which is why we are here to help guide you through your divorce proceedings as simply and efficiently as possible. Contact our offices today to set up an appointment with one of our Washington divorce lawyers and see what we can do to help with your case.