This blog is intended for informational use only. The information contained herein should not be construed as offering legal advice or a legal opinion.
If you have been covered under your spouse’s health and/or dental insurance plan during the marriage, you will need to do some research to find out what options are available to you for coverage post-divorce. Under NH RSA 415:18, VII, you may be able to continue to receive coverage under your soon-to-be ex-spouse’s plan for up to three years before COBRA coverage kicks in, if it is a fully insured group plan. Under this scenario, insurers cannot charge additional premiums, and the employer must continue to pay their share of the former spouse’s premiums, as if the parties were not divorced. Further, if prior to three years, either party remarries or the covered employee dies, or the covered employee is terminated from or leaves his/her employment, coverage under RSA 415:18, VII will terminate and you will be eligible under COBRA, but instead of it being part of the family or couple plan at no additional cost, either you or your spouse will need to pay for the cost of individual coverage under the federal COBRA program which is usually the cost the employer pays for individual insurance (i.e., often $500 per month or more).
However, you should be aware that if your spouse’s health and/or dental insurance are provided under a self-funded health insurance plan, then RSA 415:18 VII would not be applicable. In this case, if you wish to continue your existing health/dental coverage, post-divorce, your only option would be through COBRA for up to three years and as previously noted the premium costs under COBRA are likely to be substantially more expensive than if you could remain on the family or couple plan at no additional cost. Therefore, if you have health benefits available to you through your own employer, it should be investigated. Another alternative is the coverage available under the New Hampshire health insurance exchange under the Affordable Care Act.
A final option to consider is a legal separation rather than a divorce. This may allow you to retain your health insurance coverage, but still be able to divide your assets/debts and have final orders on parenting rights and responsibilities, child support, and spousal support just as if you were divorced. You should review the health insurance policy carefully in that instance to see if you can remain covered as a dependent in the case of a legal separation. You can also convert the legal separation into a divorce easily by filing a motion.
Though this question was posed by our client in Windham, NH, our experienced family law team at Welts, White & Fontaine, P.C. is here to answer all of your divorce questions. We cover Nashua and most of New Hampshire. Call us today to schedule your free half hour consultation.