Most in Sarasota may expect that a divorce will have a financial impact on their lives, yet few may truly comprehend just how extensive that impact may be. One area that many fail to consider when previewing their post-divorce life is healthcare. While the number of single-income families has been on the decline in recent years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that as of 2018, 4.3 million American households have only one family member that works. In such situations, a divorce could leave the non-working spouse concerned about how they will be able to afford their own healthcare once their marriages end.
Thankfully, people in these scenarios may qualify for COBRA coverage. COBRA stands for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, which amended earlier federal legislation in order to provide people with continuing coverage after their associations with the sponsors of their group health plan coverage ended. Its primary purpose is to help those who have left their jobs continue to have health insurance until they can secure new coverage. Yet its guidelines also offer assistance to group health plan beneficiaries (such as those covered under the spouse's insurance).
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, three elements must be present in order for one to be eligible for COBRA coverage:
- Their group health plan must be covered by COBRA
- They must have experienced a qualifying event in their lives
- They must be a qualified beneficiary
Health plans sponsored by private business as well as state and local agencies are covered by COBRA. Divorce is viewed as being a qualifying event, and one is considered a qualified beneficiary if they were covered by the health plan on the day before the qualifying event occurred. Those eligible for COBRA coverage due to divorce remain covered for 36 months following their qualifying event.