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Can you stay on your spouse's insurance after a divorce?

One of the biggest expenses of the modern era is your health insurance coverage. Naturally, if you're on your spouse's employer-provided insurance, you're concerned about what will happen if you end up divorced.

You may be able to stay on your ex-spouse's insurance after divorce, at least for a while -- although your ex-spouse will not be responsible for your premium. The Illinois Spousal Continuation Coverage law says that if you are under 55 years of age, you may be entitled to remain covered for two full years after your divorce. If you are over 55 years of age, you may be entitled to coverage until you become eligible for Medicare.

Once your divorce is final, you'll have 30 days to notify your spouse's employer that you are electing to continue your coverage. Your spouse's employer is required to notify the insurance company, which will then forward you the appropriate form for completion. You must return the form within 30 days of its receipt.

However, you should also understand that spousal continuation coverage doesn't apply to everyone. The law doesn't apply to:

  • A self-insured employer
  • Insurance policies written in other states
  • Self-insured benefit plans, such as those from unions

You may also have other options available to you, such as continuing your coverage through a Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) plan or buying insurance on the public marketplace.

If you hope to remain on your spouse's health insurance for a while after your divorce, it's wise to discuss the issue early with your attorney -- particularly if you have health concerns that are pressing. An attorney can help you better understand exactly what rules apply to your situation and what kind of legal options you have.

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