In Connecticut, medical coverage ends at divorce for a spouse who was covered under her ex-spouse’s insurance plan. In 2012, Connecticut House Bill 5535 attempted to change this by requiring continued eligibility for ex-spouses who were covered by a spouse’s group plan prior to divorce. Some other states currently have laws like this, but it did not pass through the Connecticut legislature.
Federal law, through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, commonly referred to as COBRA, provides a way for spouses to continue health insurance coverage after divorce. Under this law, an ex-spouse can continue benefits for up to three years following divorce -- but at the premium’s full employer cost. For example, if your ex-spouse receives insurance for free through his employer but an individual plan costs the employer $500, your cost under COBRA is $500 even though you used to get coverage for free when you were married.
A Connecticut marital settlement agreement or divorce decree can order that one spouse maintain an individual insurance plan for the other spouse, either through a COBRA plan or otherwise, or it can order a spouse to contribute a certain amount of money toward the other spouse’s plan payments. While this doesn’t keep the losing spouse on her ex-spouse’s plan, it does help defray the costs of purchasing other insurance. Additionally, the court can consider the cost of medical insurance, along with other expenses, when determining alimony.
Coverage for Children
Divorce typically does not cause a couple’s children to lose health insurance eligibility because they can still be covered through a parent’s group coverage just as before. As part of a divorce or child support order, a Connecticut court determines who is responsible for paying the children’s health insurance and maintaining coverage. If the parent with health coverage loses his job, the order can be adjusted to provide an alternate arrangement.