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Medical Insurance, Costs and Coverage in Chicago Divorce Cases

Medical insurance coverage and costs during and after the divorce process is a crucial item to discuss with your divorce attorney.  First and foremost, the medical insurance coverage that you have at time of initiating a divorce action should remain in place for yourself and any minor children of the marriage or relationship.  For a spouse to make changes to the coverage or policy without agreement, approval, or a court order could lead to costly litigation in the case.  A spouse is typically entitled to ongoing coverage that was already in place throughout the divorce proceedings.  Specifics, such as payment or alternate coverage options available to a spouse can be items up for discussion or presentment to a Judge during the divorce process.

You may be wondering whether your other similar policies also apply to these circumstances.  If you have other coverage, such as optical, dental, orthodontic, therapeutic, prescription, and the like then you should discuss your options with your divorce attorney prior to making any changes to either policy or coverage.  This can prevent unnecessary and costly litigation, not to mention the cost of any uncovered expenses when a policy lapses or is cancelled.

However, once the divorce process is completed it is typically the responsibility of each party to obtain or maintain their individual policy.  In order to maintain a pre-existing policy that was provided by one spouse, there is usually the option for the other spouse to continue coverage through COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) or SHIRA (State of Illinois option).  When an employer has 20 or more employees then the law typically applies to provide for continued coverage for employees, spouses, former spouses, and dependent children when group health insurance would be lost due to certain events – such as divorce.  The amount that you would have to pay for coverage is determined on a case-by-case basis and is charged to the individual receiving this continued coverage after the event, such as divorce.  There is a timeline that you must adhere to in order to apply and secure the continuation of coverage.  To that end, ensure that you or your legal counsel has requested the documentation for review and consideration when weighing your health insurance options after the divorce is finalized.

Another option is to secure an individual policy on your own, either private or through the State.

Just ensure to communicate with your legal counsel about your health insurance coverage and options during and after the divorce.  You can reach out to us for an initial consultation via email at jward@wardfamilylawchicago or 312-803-5838.

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