With so many factors to worry about during a divorce, maintaining your existing health insurance - and that of your dependent children - may not make the top of the list. However, it is very important to make sure that, if necessary, your health coverage remains protected throughout the divorce process - and after - especially since health care costs can be so high and losing your coverage during such a difficult time can be incredibly stressful.
While you will not want to stay on your former spouse's plan forever, your divorce attorney in DuPage County can help you bridge the gap until you can obtain your own coverage, whether through an individual plan, your own employer, or through Medicare.
Illinois Spousal Continuation Coverage Law
Under the Illinois Spousal Continuation Coverage law, spouses who would otherwise lose their coverage due to a divorce from the covered employee have the option to keep and continue it, for a limited amount of time, though they will still be responsible for paying their premium.
If the health insurance carried by your former spouse was not a part of an employee plan, but rather stemmed from his or her retirement from a former employer, you are only eligible to keep that coverage if you are 55 or older at the time of the divorce.
Who is Not Eligible for Continuation?
The continuation provision typically only applies to employer and retirement plans, not to individual plans through self-employment, to union plans, or to those originating out-of-state. However, even if you are not eligible for health insurance continuation, your divorce attorney can discuss with you options for obtaining and paying for new coverage, such as asking for spousal support to offset the cost.
Time Limits for Health Insurance Continuation after Divorce in Illinois
The length of time you will be allowed to continue your existing health insurance post-divorce depends on your age and how close you are to retirement. If you are under 55 at the time the divorce is finalized, you may continue the health insurance coverage for up to two years.
If you are older than 55 when the divorce occurs, you may extend the existing coverage until you are eligible for Medicare coverage, regardless of whether your former spouse's insurance was part of an employer plan or retirement plan.
When Can the Health Insurance be Canceled?
In addition to the legal time limits, there are several circumstances under which the coverage might be canceled, including:
- The premium payments are habitually late or unpaid;
- You remarry, regardless of whether your spouse has health insurance coverage for which you are eligible;
- You are able to get insurance coverage through your own employer; or
- The group health insurance coverage is terminated and would have been terminated even if your marriage was still intact.
Consult an Experienced Divorce Attorney in DuPage County
If you are on your spouse's or former spouse's employer-provided group plan, your experienced DuPage County divorce attorney can seek to make sure that your divorce does not negatively impact your health insurance and leave you without coverage during an already difficult time.