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Reviewing COBRA coverage guidelines

One of the elements that those preparing for a divorce in Manhattan Beach most often overlook is where will their health insurance coverage come from. Per information compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau, 67.2 percent of those insured in 2017 were covered under a private health insurance plan. Of that group, 56 percent were covered under an employer-sponsored group health plan. In such scenarios, the court will typically order that the parent whose employer offers insurance keep the kids on the plan. Yet what about their ex-spouse? Where are they to get their coverage from? 

The easy answer might be that they find a job that offers health insurance coverage as a benefit. Yet in many cases, those who spent years being covered by their spouse’s insurance might have difficulty immediately securing gainful employment. Fortunately, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act allows one to retain insurance coverage once their official affiliation with the entity that sponsors their group health plan coverage has ended.  

Per the U.S. Department of Labor, one is eligible for COBRA coverage if there case meets the following three criteria: 

  • Their previous group health plan is covered under COBRA
  • They have experienced a significant life event
  • They are a qualified beneficiary for that event

According to COBRA guidelines, divorce is indeed considered to be a significant life event (indeed, one remains eligible for COBRA coverage for up to 36 months following their divorce). To be considered a qualified beneficiary, one must have been eligible for group health plan coverage the day before their significant life event occurred. Finally, all group health plans sponsored by private companies as well as state and municipal agencies are covered by COBRA.