What Does California Law Say About Health Insurance After Divorce?


If you’re going through a divorce in the state of California, you may be questioning what to do about your health insurance coverage after you get divorced. If you are like most individuals in the United States, your premiums are already high. If you’ve been receiving health insurance coverage from your estranged spouse’s employer, you may not be sure if you can remain covered when your divorce becomes final.

Speaking With An Attorney Or Health Insurance Expert

Before you decide to search for and purchase a new health insurance plan for yourself, it is best to discuss the matter with a divorce attorney who is an expert in this area. In addition, you can also speak with a health insurance expert who will probably know if you are still eligible to be covered.

Continuation Of Coverage

In some circumstances, you may be able to stay covered under your ex-spouses health insurance policy. There are federal and state statutes that allow for a continuation of coverage. Typically, this is only temporary for most situations. However, there are ways that you can compensate for that.

Making An Agreement

In some instances, an agreement may be made that requires the ex-spouse who is covered by their employer’s insurance plan or their own private plan to make monthly cash payments to the ex-spouse who is uninsured so that they can attain insurance coverage. In other situations, an ex-spouse may cover the cost of health insurance for the other ex-spouse by directly paying for the health insurance plan. If custody of any children is given to the uninsured ex-spouse, the insured ex-spouse’s coverage would typically cover the children too.

Continuing Coverage Is Likely

In all likelihood, you may be able to keep your health insurance coverage after you get divorced as the current California laws that are in place favor this situation. However, divorce attorneys do recommend that their clients initiate proceedings for legal separation as soon as possible. This makes it easier for the two individuals to negotiate the agreement.

Federal COBRA Coverage

When separation becomes official, you will need to see if you are eligible for coverage through the federal COBRA program. It allows ex-spouses who qualify to remain under the coverage of their ex-spouse’s health insurance policy for a period of time that is as long as 18 months from the date when they became divorced. Unfortunately, these benefits are subject to a number of limitations. Also, they may be quite expensive.