Can I Stay On My Spouse’s Health Insurance After A Florida Divorce?
Ending a marriage can dramatically change your life. You can no longer count on your spouse’s income (unless you are entitled to alimony), you do not have joint expenses anymore, and you must put your life back together piece by piece.
One of the common questions that spouses ask our divorce attorneys is, “Can I stay on my spouse’s health insurance following a divorce? If yes, for how long?”
While you cannot stay on your spouse’s health insurance plan following a divorce in Florida, you may be eligible to receive temporary coverage under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) if certain conditions are met.
If you are worried about losing your spouse’s health insurance, speak with an Orlando divorce attorney to find out how you can benefit from COBRA coverage following a divorce.
How Can I Qualify for Temporary Coverage Under COBRA?
Even though you cannot stay on your ex-wife’s or ex-husband’s health insurance after a divorce, you may be entitled to temporary coverage under COBRA.
If your former spouse works for an employer with 20 or more employees, you can qualify for COBRA coverage following a divorce. “But what if my ex-spouse works for a company that only has 19 or fewer employees?”
Fortunately, you may still be able to get temporary coverage under COBRA if you live in Florida and your ex-spouse works for a smaller company. This is known as Florida’s mini-COBRA program. While COBRA is a federal program, mini-COBRA is a state-run program in Florida.
The mini-COBRA program extends the temporary coverage to non-employee spouses of those who work for an employer with fewer than 19 employees (but at least two employees).
If your former spouse works for a company that qualifies for the federal COBRA coverage or Florida’s mini-COBRA program, their employer will be required to provide you with health insurance coverage.
However, to receive coverage through your ex-spouse’s employer, you need to send notice to their health plan administrator within 60 days of the date of finalizing your divorce. Failure to notify the health plan administrator within 60 days will result in the loss of your eligibility or COBRA coverage.
How Long Will COBRA Coverage Last?
You are eligible to receive COBRA coverage through your ex-spouse’s employer for three years (36 months). While it may sound ideal to some, you need to understand that COBRA coverage is not the cheapest option.
If you are eligible for COBRA coverage, you may be required to pay the entire premium amount up to over 100% of the cost of the plan. Thus, you may be better off finding a cheaper insurance policy through your own employer.
But what about your children? Fortunately, your children will most likely not be affected by your divorce as they will still stay on your ex-spouse’s health insurance even after a divorce is final. Parents are required to maintain health insurance coverage for their kids until their emancipation or until the coverage is no longer available, whichever occurs sooner.
If you have questions about health insurance after a Florida divorce, do not hesitate to schedule a consultation with our Orlando divorce lawyer at the Law Offices of Steve W. Marsee, P.A. Call 407-521-7171 to discuss your situation.