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Insurance adjustments following a California divorce

When a couple emerges from a California divorce, each party is often relieved to be done with the many and varied tasks and decisions that accompanied the divorce process. Some are surprised to find that there is still a significant list of items to be addressed in the timeframe following the end of a marriage. Insurance matters are one topic that both parties should give some attention to after a divorce.

One insurance concern involves securing adequate healthcare coverage. This is a significant concern for individuals who relied upon the employment benefits of their former husband of wife for their health insurance needs. Once the divorce is final, a former spouse no longer qualifies as a dependent, and will be removed from the existing policy. Federal law provides the ability to extend coverage for as many as 36 months under COBRA, but doing so requires the insured individual to pay the full premium.

Ideally, insurance matters are addressed during the divorce, and spouses who will lose their coverage make that financial burden a part of their negotiation strategy. Following the divorce, the party who loses coverage can shop around for the policy that best meets their needs. Some larger insurers will offer discounts if a customer moves their other insurance policies, such as auto, life or property insurance.

It can be frustrating to face a new list of to-do items after a California divorce is final. However, taking care of insurance issues is an important step in moving forward as a single person. Healthcare coverage can make a world of difference in the event of an unexpected illness or injury, and is a topic that deserves attention and careful planning, both before and after divorce.

Source: Fox Business, "How to Uncouple Your Insurance in Divorce," Michele Lerner, May 31, 2013

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