Financial preparation prior to filing for divorce can substantially ease your stress during and after divorce. If you have been out of the workforce for some years, the idea of becoming self-supporting can be daunting. The three biggest expenses you need to plan for are your home, car, and food. Your fourth largest expense will be for medical care and health insurance. The annual premium for an individual health plan in 2018 was nearly $7,000--over $500 per month--and that plan comes with an average deductible of $1,500. Fortunately, Illinois has a Spousal Continuation Law (215 ILCS 5/367.2) that allows you to remain on your spouse’s employment-based insurance plan after divorce.
If you want to remain on your spouse’s health insurance after your divorce, your spouse must notify their employer and insurance company of the divorce within 30 days of the final decree. This will trigger the insurance company to send you a notice about the continuation of coverage. You must return your response to the insurance company within 30 days.
When you elect spousal continuation coverage, you must pay the entire premium. That includes both the amount an active employee would normally pay plus the employer contribution. Employees typically pay about 20 to 30% of the total premium, with the employer picking up the majority of the cost.
If you are under age 55 at the time of your divorce, you can stay on spousal continuation coverage for a maximum of two years. If you are age 55 or older at the time of your divorce, you can stay on spousal continuation coverage until you are eligible for Medicare. Your coverage may terminate earlier if you remarry, obtain insurance through your own employer, or fail to make timely payments. You may want to select continuation coverage initially, then take your time shopping for alternative coverage on the health insurance marketplace, to ensure that you do not have any gaps in coverage.
You may qualify for spousal maintenance payments after divorce, which can provide you with sufficient funds to cover your health insurance payments. Your divorce attorney can argue for maintenance on a variety of grounds, including your realistic earning capacity and any impairment of your earning capacity that resulted from your devoting time to domestic duties.
If you have concerns about your ability to become self-sufficient after a divorce, talk to our DuPage County divorce attorneys. Prior to filing for divorce, there are steps you can take to get your finances in order. Call Mevorah Law Offices LLC at 630-932-9100 for a free initial consultation.
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