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Do I need to get my own health insurance if I get divorced?

 Posted on August 01, 2021 in Divorce

Those of us with decent health insurance have the peace of mind of knowing that if we get sick or badly injured, we can get the medical care we need without a massive bill afterward. The same goes for our children. Your health plan may not be perfect, and dealing with the insurance company is not always pleasant, but it certainly beats having no insurance at all.

Most married couples in the Chicago area put the family on one spouse’s plan. But if that couple gets a divorce, what happens? Does each spouse have to get their own health insurance? What if one spouse does not work outside the home and does not have access to an employment-based plan?

Spousal continuation and your divorce

Fortunately, Illinois law allows you to stay on your ex’s health insurance after your divorce. It’s called “spousal continuation.” A statute lays out the steps you and your ex must take to make this happen.

The process is fairly simple. First, the insured former spouse must let their employer and insurance company know about the spousal continuation within 30 days of the final divorce decree. The insurance company will then mail a notice to the other ex, who has another 30 days to respond.

Why do exes agree to this?

Divorced parents commonly agree to keep their children on one parent’s health insurance to ensure the kids are covered. Whether your ex will accept keeping you on their plan might depend on cost. For example, paying for your health insurance could be cheaper than paying you more in spousal support to help you pay for your own insurance. Negotiating with your ex in good faith as part of your property division settlement should result in your having some form of health insurance.

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