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Can a Court Order Me To Provide Insurance In a NY Divorce?

by | Jan 31, 2023 | Alimony and Spousal Support, NY

When a married couple decides to divorce, there are many issues that need to be sorted out. One of the most important – and often contentious – issues is that of health insurance. Who will be covered by what policy, and who will pay for it?

In some cases, a Nassau County or Suffolk County, NY court may order one spouse to provide health insurance for the other spouse – especially if there are minor children involved. In this post, we’ll take a look at how courts handle health insurance in a Long Island, NY divorce, when they may order one spouse to provide coverage for the other, and how an attorney can help you.

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Health Insurance in a Long Island, NY Divorce

Health insurance is often a key issue in a divorce. Under federal law, a spouse cannot be removed from a health insurance policy while the divorce is pending. This protection applies to all group health plans, including employer-sponsored plans, individual plans purchased through state exchanges, and Medicaid.

A spouse can only be removed from a health insurance policy after the divorce is final. At that point, the insurer can treat the divorced spouse as it would any other unmarried person who is not covered by a family plan. This means that the insurer can charge the divorced spouse more for coverage or deny coverage altogether.

COBRA Benefits for Divorcing Spouses

COBRA is a federal law that allows divorcing spouses to continue their health insurance coverage through their former spouse’s plan for up to 36 months. COBRA benefits are not automatic, however. The divorcing spouse must take action to elect COBRA coverage within 60 days of the divorce decree. If the spouse does not elect COBRA coverage, they will be responsible for finding new health insurance.

COBRA health insurance is often the most expensive option for health insurance, so it’s important to compare your other options before making a decision. If you’re healthy and don’t have any pre-existing conditions, you may be able to find a more affordable health insurance plan on the open market. However, if you have a pre-existing condition that makes it difficult for you to find a suitable plan, COBRA may be your best option.

When Courts Order Mandatory Coverage in New York

In the state of New York, if you are going through a divorce and your spouse has health insurance coverage through their employer, the court may order that your spouse maintain health insurance coverage for you and any dependent children until the divorce is finalized. This is known as a “Section 236(B) order.”

There are two main circumstances in which a court will issue a Section 236(B) order. The first is when health insurance coverage is included in the terms of the divorce settlement. This means both spouses have reached an agreement or the judge has issued an order as to who will provide health insurance and for how long.

The second is when one spouse is unable to obtain health insurance coverage on their own because of a pre-existing medical condition and an order is issued later on that the insured spouse must again provide coverage for a specified length of time.

How an Experienced Long Island, NY Divorce Attorney Can Help

If you are going through a divorce or thinking about your legal options, you may have questions about your health insurance coverage. An experienced Long Island, NY divorce attorney can help you understand your rights and options when it comes to health insurance in a divorce.

Your attorney can help you determine whether your spouse is required to provide health insurance coverage for you during the divorce process, or if you are the spouse responsible for maintaining an insurance policy. In some cases, the court may order you or your spouse to provide health insurance coverage to the other after the divorce is final.

Your attorney can also help you understand how COBRA benefits work and whether they will be available to you after your divorce. COBRA benefits allow you to continue your health insurance coverage under your spouse’s policy for a period of time after the divorce.

If a court order is issued and your spouse is required to provide you with coverage, your attorney can help you enforce the order and ensure you get the access to the benefits you need. If your spouse fails to provide the required coverage, a family law firm can take legal action to compel them to comply with the order.

Contact Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. today for more information or to schedule a free initial consultation by calling 631-923-1910 or fill out the short form on this page and we’ll get right back to you.

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About the Author

Robert E. Hornberger, Esq., Founding Partner, Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C.

  • Over 20 years practicing matrimonial law
  • Over 1,000 cases successfully resolved
  • Founder and Partner of Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C.
  • Experienced and compassionate Long Island Divorce Attorney, Family Law Attorney, and Divorce Mediator
  • Licensed to practice law in the State of New York
  • New York State Bar Association member
  • Nassau County Bar Association member
  • Suffolk County Bar Association member
  • “Super Lawyer” Metro Rising Star
  • Nominated Best of Long Island Divorce Attorney four consecutive years
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee Contributor
  • Collaborative Law Association of New York – Former Director
  • Martindale Hubbell Distinguished Designation
  • America’s Most Honored Professionals – Top 5%
  • Lead Counsel Rated – Divorce Law
  • American Institute of Family Law Attorneys 10 Best
  • International Academy of Collaborative Professionals
  • Graduate of Hofstra University School of Law
  • Double Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy, Politics & Law and History from SUNY Binghamton University
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Melissa Rappa
Melissa Rappa
18:09 08 Feb 24
At one of the hardest and most stressful times of my life, it was so comforting to have a team at Hornberger and Verbitsky who ALWAYS responded in record speed to my questions, phone calls, emails or texts and who I felt really cared about helping me through this difficult time. It was a long few years and I am grateful to all of you. Thank you so much Rob, AnneMarie, Christine, Patty, Joan and Lawrence. Your guidance, professionalism and expertise is appreciated beyond measure.
Paul Carmichael
Paul Carmichael
16:21 11 Dec 23
I would give 6 stars if I could. I can't say enough good things about Robert and his firm. We were in a situation for over 2 years and I could have never made it through without Robert's experience and knowledge. He guided me through tough times when needed and his expertise could "read" the situation and make the next best move for me. He was tough when he needed to be tough (thankfully) and at the same time guided me through the process to make me feel comfortable in an uncomfortable situation. I would not want to go through this process without Robert and his team having my back. he helped move the case along and not waste any time or money. One last time, I 100% endorse Robert and his expertise.

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