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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

Stop, Look & Listen: Railroad Retirement Benefits Q&A

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

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.

Important notice:

Answers are provided as general guidance on the subjects covered in the question and are not provided as legal advice to the questioner or to readers. Any legal issues should be reviewed by your legal counsel to apply the law to the particular facts of this and similar situations.

The law in this area changes frequently. Answers are believed to be correct as of the posting dates shown. The completeness or accuracy of a particular answer may be affected by changes in the law (statutes, regulations, rulings, court decisions, etc.) that occur after the date on which a particular Q&A is posted.

Copyright 1997-2017 Robert S. Kaufman
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