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What is COBRA?

As you begin to prepare for your divorce proceedings in Westminster, one thing that needs to be considered is how you will support yourself (and possibly your children) with your ex-spouse no longer providing you with financial assistance. In this context “support” means both direct income and ancillary benefits (such as health insurance). Speaking specifically of the latter, if your ex-spouse was the primary income earner in your marital home, then you were likely covered under the group health plan offered by their employer. Where is yours (and your kids’ insurance coverage) to come from once you are no longer married? 

If your ex-spouse remains eligible for group health plan coverage through their employer, then the court will typically mandate that they keep the kids on their plan until your children reach the age of majority (or cease to be eligible beneficiaries). Yet what about you? The assumption is that you will eventually either secure coverage through your own employment or qualify after remarrying. If that does not happen right away, however, will you not have health insurance coverage? 

Per the U.S. Department of Labor, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act allows you to remain covered under your ex-spouse’s group health plan until you secure new health insurance. In order to qualify for COBRA coverage, you must meet the following criteria: 

  • Your ex-spouse’s plan must be sponsored by a private company that employs more than 20 people or a state or local agency
  • You must have experienced a significant life event (of which divorce qualifies)
  • You must have been eligible for coverage the day prior to your significant life event occurring

COBRA guidelines state that you can remain on your ex-spouse’s plan for up to 36 months after your divorce

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