Can You Get Medical Insurance Benefits through Your Spouse’s Employer after Divorce As A Texas Resident?
In a few cases, people get their insurance cover from their spouse’s employer. So, is there a chance that you would lose it after a divorce? If you live in Texas, the answer is both ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ As a couple, it is natural that one of you would buy and maintain the health insurance plan for the family. However, things change when you file for a divorce.
Getting medical insurance is not easy because the eligibility preconditions of the departing partners change. It is important, therefore, to know whether your divorce can affect your coverage. Below are the pertinent Texas divorce laws and directives explained for your reference.
Contact Your Spouse’s Employer As Early As Possible After Divorce
US Federal Law implies that a divorced partner can continue to get insurance benefits through the employer of his/her spouse. The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act or COBRA 1985 is a Federal law. Implementation of this law requires employers with 20 or more employees to pay medical insurance benefits to the divorced spouses of their employees. The basic implication of the law is that the employers must continue paying benefits under a coverage plan for the first three years after the divorce.
Not only that, the employer can charge the employee who has legally separated from his/her spouse. But this charge should not be 2% higher than the current insurance charges. To get the COBRA 85 benefits, you should contact the employer within 60 days from the date of legal separation. Ensure the pertinent forms, fill them back with required details, and return them to the employer. Failing to file your claim within the 60-days timeframe would make your claim null and void.
Understanding Cobra 1985 Implications For Texas Residents
The Texas laws are a little different from the Fed laws, and here is a recap of the key implications of the COBRA 1985 in your state, Texas. You have the right to claim medical insurance benefits through your ex-spouse’s employer if he has twenty employees or more.
The law is not applicable if your ex-spouse lost the job on the ground of gross misconduct. However, in that case, the burden of proof is on the employer. In most post-separation medical insurance benefits claim cases, the claiming partner gets coverage for up to 18 months (or 1.5 years). Your rights accrue when a ‘qualifying event’ takes place. A qualifying event can be any change in employment status that may affect the health insurance plan benefits or your eligibility.
Your spouse’s employer is bound to notify you about the COBRA rights and other implications. In Texas, the state law (the Small Employer Health Insurance Availability Act) requires small employers to continue paying the insurance benefits to direct beneficiaries and their spouses. However, if you do not fall under the cover of the Fed law, the benefit continuation period will come down to nine months.
Health Insurance Benefits Are Part Of The Divorce Settlement
If you can find a reputable Texas divorce lawyer, you can get the medical insurance benefits included in the final settlement. If you are a homemaker and don’t have health insurance, your chances of getting insurance benefits after divorce become higher.
It is also possible to get healthcare insurance benefits for your kids. However, eligibility preconditions largely differ, and you should contact a divorce attorney is to receive important tips and advice. It is also imperative for you to contact the insurer directly to understand the implications of their terms and conditions in the given scenario.
Find A Good Attorney
To get health insurance benefits from your spouse’s employer after your divorce, you need professional help. You should find a good divorce attorney in Texas first. The federal law provides a continuation coverage for three years after the divorce.
However, since you have only 60 days to apply for the benefits after the divorce, you must act on time to get eligible for the benefits. This is why you need to find a good attorney at the earliest. The attorney will do the necessary paperwork for you, obtain the forms, and apply them using the right procedure. And all this will ensure that you are safe legally and the divorce does not cause more damage to you than it already might be doing.
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