How Does Health Insurance Work in a Divorce?

by James HargroveOctober 11, 2023,
How Does Health Insurance Work in a Divorce?

Health insurance, together with the coverage of medical bills, are some major financial burdens for spouses going through a divorce. Divorces often affect health insurance coverage. As such, a divorce lawyer or divorce mediator is best equipped to advise you on your options for health insurance coverage when or if the time comes. 

There are many types of insurance, such as private insurance, which is obtained through an employer. On the other hand, public insurance refers to medical planning insurance like Medicare or a children’s health insurance program. There is also the employee spouse insurance – insurance a spouse receives through their partner’s employer. 

Health Insurance in a Divorce


Most of the time, when the divorce process starts, the health insurance remains intact while the divorce is pending. Most courts do not allow the spouse who is employed to remove their dependent from the insurance plan during the divorce process. A lawyer can also request the court to keep the insurance policy where one spouse might have to pay insurance premiums.  


Once the divorce has been finalized, the private health insurance will typically end on the date of the divorce for the dependent spouse. However, if children are involved, the court can order the health insurance to retain their coverage.

Insurance Options After Divorce

After the divorce, the dependent spouse can follow through on a few options. Insurance coverage might be available through public services. The availability of these services depends on the age of the individual, income, disabilities, and other factors 

If the spouse seeks employment after the divorce, then employer-sponsored insurance plans may play an important role in the job search. The spouse can also be part of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) coverage as per federal law. 

This allows the dependent partner to keep their health insurance coverage under their ex’s name and plan for a temporary period. The spouse has limited time to enroll in COBRA coverage after the divorce has been finalized. One caveat is that this option is more expensive because the employer will not pay for any portion of the insurance.

Other Considerations

During the divorce process, you can explore other options for health insurance coverage with your lawyer. This may include the cost required for the COBRA coverage or information about private insurance. 

If there is any doubt that you will be able to continue the insurance coverage, then you should consider medical planning ahead of time by setting up appointments while the insurance is in effect. If the divorce is settled through divorce mediation then partners can agree to post-divorce temporary spouse support to cover an extent of the medical bills. 


If you are going through a divorce, one of the most important points to raise is that of your insurance coverage. Your lawyer can instruct you on the best route to take, given how complicated this all tends to be. Working with a professional means that you will have a comprehensive view of all your options, and that you will make all the right moves needed.

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