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Health Insurance for Divorced Spouses
(Posted March 25, 2009)
Question 686: Can a divorced spouse who never worked outside of her home get health insurance? She was married for 25 years.
Answer: Most group health insurance coverage for an employee's spouse ends with divorce. There is usually a short transition period and some coverage can continue for a period of time due to rights the divorced has under "COBRA," a federal law that requires most employer-provided group health plans to offer continued coverage to the divorced spouse. But the divorced spouse must pay the entire premium (i.e., the employer no longer has any obligation to pay part of the premium; some employers pay for all or part of the premium for their employees and the employees' dependents).
Following divorce, a spouse must look to private sources for health insurance until the spouse reaches 65 and Medicare is available. Sometimes an individually-owned health insurance policy costs less than COBRA coverage, so it's smart to speak with one or more insurance agents.
For divorced spouses over 50, AARP may be a good resource to check out for more information.
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