DIVORCE
05/07/2012 06:00 pm ET

Divorce Questions: Can I Still Get Medical Insurance From My Ex After Divorce?

Wondering if it's possible to stay on your ex's health insurance after divorce? Here's what you need to know, from divorce financial strategist Jeffrey A. Landers, the founder of Bedrock Divorce Advisors. Have questions? Ask in the comments.

It may be a bitter pill to swallow, but the answer to this question is “No.” Once divorced, you cannot stay on your ex’s health insurance –- but your children can and probably should (although who will pay the premiums might be a topic of discussion). After the divorce is finalized, you (the non-employee spouse) can qualify for COBRA coverage, but remember: COBRA is temporary and lasts only up to 36 months.

If you’re divorcing, my advice would be to get your own health insurance as soon as possible because if you develop a condition while on COBRA, a new insurance plan may see it as a pre-existing condition and either not insure you or only do so with much higher premiums. (Of course, the Supreme Court is now scrutinizing Obama's healthcare legislation, so stay tuned. The way health insurance companies view pre-existing conditions may change.)

Maintaining health insurance coverage is a major concern for many divorcing couples -- in fact, it’s one of the main reasons why some couples now opt for a legal separation instead of divorce. (If you take this route, tread carefully. Some health insurance companies view a legal separation the same as divorce, so check with the company’s health plan provider). In other words, do not take this matter lightly. Health insurance companies have strict requirements for when and how they must be notified of your divorce, and failure to do so might constitute insurance fraud. Make sure you consult with your attorney to understand the laws as they apply to your specific case.

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Jeffrey A. Landers, CDFA™ is a Divorce Financial Strategist™ and the founder of Bedrock Divorce Advisors, LLC, a firm which exclusively advises affluent women throughout the United States before, during and after divorce. He assists women and their divorce attorneys with deciding on the most advantageous way to divide marital assets and enable them to negotiate more favorable settlements, especially when there are complicated financial and tax issues.

Jeff can be reached at Landers@BedrockDivorce.com.

All articles/blog posts are for informational purposes only, and do not constitute legal advice. If you require legal advice, retain a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction. The opinions expressed are solely those of the author, who is not an attorney.

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