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Can I Get COBRA on My Spouse's Health Plan After a Divorce

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Can I Get COBRA on My Spouse's Health Plan After a Divorce

According to the CDC, nearly 4 marriages out of every 1000 end in divorce. If you have unfortunately found yourself in that category, and are covered under your former spouse’s group insurance plan, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) of 1985 gives you the right to continue your healthcare coverage.

Qualifying Events

COBRA gives individuals the right to continue group health coverage that would otherwise be lost due to a specific qualifying event. There are five basic qualifying events that initiate COBRA continuation coverage:

  • Termination of employment or reduction in work hours
  • Death of an employee
  • Covered employee becoming eligible for Medicare
  • Dependent child ceasing to be classified as dependent under the terms of the plan
  • Divorce or legal separation

If you become legally separated or divorced from your spouse, you have the right to get COBRA continuation coverage beginning on the date the divorce or legal separation occurs.

Any beneficiary listed on the plan, including dependents, are independently eligible to receive continuation coverage. Children and dependents who no longer receive healthcare under your spouse’s health plan may get their own COBRA continuation coverage. Either you or your former spouse may make the election decision for dependents.


In the event of a divorce or legal separation, you or your former spouse must notify the plan within 60 days. The plan will then notify you, in writing, within 14 days of your rights to COBRA continuation coverage. The election notice you receive will spell out in detail everything you need to know about your COBRA rights, coverage options, and costs. Be aware that you will be responsible for paying for COBRA continuation coverage, up to 102% of the cost of the plan. (Of course, you could get healthcare in the divorce settlement.)

Maximum Period

In the event of COBRA continuation coverage due to divorce or legal separation, you and your dependents may be eligible to receive COBRA continuation coverage for up to 36 months from the date the legal proceeding was finalized.

Got Questions?  Call RedQuote Today!

RedQuote helps beneficiaries understand their COBRA plan benefits and can provide them with information about individual plan options and any changes they may experience due to divorce.  We can help them choose the best plan for their age, budget and coverage preferences. If your company might be interested in hiring us to manage COBRA benefits for beneficiaries coming off your group medical plan, contact us today!

Published May 6, 2017.

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