Many couples have group medical insurance through one of the spouse's employers. When the couple divorces, the spouse without employer-provided insurance may decide to purchase an individual or private family insurance policy, which could be the best bargain. However, federal law and the laws of some states provide for maintaining the same insurance coverage that the non-employee spouse had while married.
COBRA and Mini-COBRAs
The federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act applies to group policies when a workplace has more than 20 employees. COBRA allows the non-employee spouse to maintain the same insurance the employee spouse has for up to 36 months after divorce. Some states have mini-COBRA laws that apply to employer-provided group policies when the employer has less than 20 employees. How long the non-employee spouse may maintain insurance under the mini-COBRA statutes varies by state. However, whether a person is insured through COBRA or a mini-COBRA, the cost of the insurance for the divorced, non-employee spouse is typically more expensive because the employer does not subsidize her insurance plan.