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Will I Lose Health Insurance in Divorce on Long Island, NY?

by | Mar 5, 2024 | Divorce Long Island, NY

Going through the divorce process on Long Island, NY means making substantial changes to every component of your life. One area often overlooked in the fray of negotiating equitable distribution of assets (and debts), child custody, child support, alimony, etc. is the important benefit of health insurance. If you are reliant on your soon-to-be ex for health insurance, such as through an employer, you may be unsure what will happen to that coverage after your divorce.

There are two important areas to focus on here: what happens during the divorce process and what occurs after the divorce is finalized. At Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C., our experienced team of divorce lawyers and family law attorneys can help you to ensure your right to health insurance is protected throughout this legal process.

Matrimonial Automatic Orders in New York

Automatic Orders are requirements put in place that protect each principal in a divorce. The basic premise behind these orders is to maintain the status quo from the filing of the initial divorce papers through the final resolution of the divorce. In relation to health insurance, automatic orders require that a spouse cannot be removed from existing health insurance coverage during the divorce proceedings.

This means that no matter the type of health insurance in place, it must remain in place for all spouses during the divorce process. That includes employer-sponsored plans, Healthcare Marketplace coverage, other privately purchased insurance, government subsidized programs, military insurance coverage, or other forms. As a result, if you have health insurance in place right now through your ex, you will continue to have that coverage, or a policy of equal provision, throughout the divorce process.

What Happens to Health Insurance After a Divorce on Long Island, NY?

The divorce process will ultimately determine if that health insurance will continue long-term or if you will need to obtain new coverage. Typically, after a divorce, you are no longer dependent on the other party and that means you will not continue to receive coverage for your health care needs through the spouse’s health insurance plan. Typically, that means you have to find other coverage.

This is not just related to the spouse’s decision not to continue providing insurance. For example, if your ex agrees to continue to cover you, that’s not likely to be viable once the insurance company learns that a divorce has occurred. Simply put, your ex is no longer eligible for insurance through an employer-sponsored or other plan since no marriage is present.

While this can seem very limiting and worrisome, there are some other solutions that may provide you with some financial peace of mind.

COBRA Could Be Available to You

Once your divorce is finalized, you will then have the ability to start rebuilding your financial health. COBRA is a type of financial tool available to those who are experiencing the end of their current health insurance policy. It applies to various situations, such as leaving one job to go to another. It aims to provide a more affordable level of coverage until longer-term solutions can be put in place.

COBRA is a federal law. Within that law are specific rules that require divorcing spouses to continue coverage through the spouse’s former insurance plan for up to 36 months after the divorce is finalized. However, this is not an automatic process, as you will need to take action to request coverage (and do that within 60 days of the completion of the divorce decree) to receive it.

COBRA is not free, and its financial implications may fall on your shoulders. Typically, COBRA is expensive, and other options that are more affordable may be available. There are also limitations on when COBRA applies. For example, employer-sponsored health insurance plans only apply to employers with over 20 employees.

Note that New York divorce courts often consider the loss of health insurance benefits as a component of the bigger picture of how to distribute marital property equitably. That means that this could play a role in how assets are divided within your marriage and whether or not spousal maintenance is provided (and at what level).

In certain situations, New York courts can also order that health insurance must continue for a specified period after the divorce.

Consider Long Term Objectives

Because health insurance during divorce is so complex, it is critical for you to consider your long-term needs and goals. Loss of health insurance coverage can be financially devastating, which is why you should carefully plan for it.

Divorce will trigger a special open enrollment period, making it possible for you to purchase coverage through the health insurance marketplace. Depending on your specific needs, this marketplace may offer more affordable options than continuing on with COBRA.

Let our Team of Divorce Attorneys on Long Island, NY Help You with Your Insurance Needs

At Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C., we are here to help you navigate the entire divorce process. We recognize the importance of ensuring you maintain health insurance coverage. Our team of experienced divorce lawyers can help you navigate your options throughout this process to ensure that health insurance is always considered as a component of the divorcing process. Contact us for a free divorce consultation with our Long Island, NY, divorce attorneys by calling 631-923-1910 or fill in the short form on this page and we’ll get 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
Divorce Lawyer Long Island New York
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
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