For divorcing spouses who are on their husband’s or wife’s health insurance plan, it’s crucial to make sure that you continue to have this insurance after the divorce is final. If you’re among the many Reston area residents with Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) coverage through their spouse, you’re at an advantage over those who have coverage through their spouse’s private sector employer-sponsored plan.
However, if your soon-to-be-ex is a federal employee or retiree, you still have to make sure that you meet the Spouse Equity Act’s FEHB requirements. If you do, you need to take the appropriate steps to avoid a potentially risky gap in coverage.
Qualifications for FEHB coverage after divorce
Spouses can continue their coverage as a family member if they were covered under their husband’s or wife’s Self Plus One or Self and Family plan at least one day in the 18 months before the divorce. They also have to be qualified to receive part of their spouse’s retirement or survivor annuity.
A former spouse can continue to receive coverage until or unless they remarry before reaching the age of 55. You will have to pay both the government’s and the employee’s portion of the premiums. Therefore, it may be worthwhile to see what your options are through your own employer or under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
You have up to 60 days after your divorce is final to apply for continued FEHB benefits, but it’s best to do it sooner rather than later. If you don’t meet the requirements to continue receiving this coverage, you can still get a temporary continuation of coverage (TCC) for up to three years after your divorce is final. That will cost more, but at least it will give you some coverage until you can get another policy.
Your children’s health insurance
If you have children, you’ll need to determine whether they’ll remain on your spouse’s plan or you’ll add them to yours. Whatever your decision, their coverage and how it will be paid for should be part of your child support agreement.
Your FEHBs are just some of the benefits you may be eligible to continue receiving after your divorce. That’s one more reason why it’s wise for Herndon area divorcing spouses to have experienced legal guidance throughout their divorce.