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Your Health Insurance Options in the Event of a Divorce

Your Health Insurance Options in the Event of a Divorce

If you are going through a divorce, you may have wondered how your health insurance coverage might be affected. This is especially pertinent in divorce cases where both spouses are covered by one spouse’s employer-sponsored insurance plan. In short, you cannot remain on a former spouse’s health insurance coverage following a divorce. However, the good news is that you are not without options:

  1. COBRA

In the event of divorce or legal separation, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) allows an individual the right to temporary continuation of their health insurance coverage through a former spouse’s employer. Although not all employers offer COBRA, employers with 20 or more employees are often required to do so. Unfortunately, coverage through COBRA can be significantly more expensive as participants must normally pay the entire premium (rather than the employer paying a portion). You can read more about COBRA coverage here.

  1. Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) offers an alternative to COBRA for individuals looking for health insurance coverage following a divorce or legal separation. Although the ACA has a limited enrollment period, you will likely qualify for a special enrollment period if you’ve recently experienced a divorce.

  1. BadgerCare Plus

If you qualify for BadgerCare (Wisconsin’s version of Medicaid), you can enroll for this health insurance coverage at any time, including following a divorce. Find out if you qualify here.

  1. Maintenance

In certain cases, the court may order your former spouse to pay maintenance (spousal support/alimony) as contribution to your future health care expenses.

  1. Legal Separation

Wisconsin statutes state, “no group policy which provides coverage to the spouse of a group member may contain a provision for termination of coverage for the spouse solely as a result of a break in their marital relationship except by reason of the entry of a judgment of divorce or annulment of their marriage.” In other words, a legally separated spouse may remain on his/her former spouse’s insurance plan.


Going through a divorce is a complicated and challenging time. If you would like to know more about the implications of your divorce, contact our office to schedule a free 30-minute consultation. We’d be happy to meet with you!

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