Can You Keep Health Insurance If You Divorce Your Military Spouse?
If you and your military spouse are divorcing and your health insurance is through him or her, you more than likely will lose your benefits when the divorce is final. However, there are some things you can do to keep coverage or at least extend it until you can afford to pay for it yourself. Before your divorce is final, here is what you need to know:
Do You Automatically Lose Coverage?
Once your divorce is finalized, you lose TRICARE benefits. TRICARE is the health insurance program provided to military service members and their family. The main requirement is for you to be a spouse or other eligible family member and since you no longer fit that criteria, you lose coverage.
There is an exception to the rule though. In order to retain coverage, you have to be married to your military spouse for at least 20 years. You also have to show that your spouse was in the military for at least 20 years. The years of marriage and your spouse's military service need to overlap at least 20 years. In addition to these requirements, you have to not remarry during the time you are covered and prove that your own employer is not offering coverage to you.
What Else Can You Do?
If you do not meet the criteria to hold onto your coverage, you can apply for the Continued Health Care Benefit Program. The program gives you coverage for a limited amount of time while you find a new provider. Once that period of time is up, you are responsible for your own coverage. If you do plan to apply for benefits under this program, it is important that you act quickly.
There is a time limit that goes into effect the day your divorce is final. If you fail to apply for benefits before the time limit is reached, you could be left without benefits.
You can also negotiate with your spouse to have him or her provide you with coverage after the divorce is final. If you are going to receive spousal support after the divorce, you can include this as part of the deal. However, if you are not, your spouse might be willing to compromise in exchange for your agreement on other matters.
If you are concerned with losing your health care coverage, talk to your divorce attorney. He or she can help you go over your options and determine if your state's laws leave you with any additional ones.