COBRA Coverage

Making sure that health insurance continues after divorce is a major concern.  There is a federal law called COBRA that requires insurers and employers to provide ongoing medical insurance to divorce spouses for a period of time.  Private employers with 20 more employees are covered by COBRA.  Most states have a similar program for employers with fewer than 20 employees.  COBRA provides that when an employee gets divorced the employee’s former spouse can remain covered up to three years on a group insurance policy.  The non-employee spouse must pay for the benefit, but can only be charged as much as the employer is paying for them plus a 2% administrative fee.   After three years, the non-employee spouse is entitled to convert the coverage to a private policy with equivalent benefits without the insurance company requiring medical tests or records.  If you have questions about COBRA and divorce, call the plan administrator or the Employee Benefits Security Administration toll-free hot line:  1-866-444-3272.  You can also go the Department of Labor web site at www.dol.gov/ebsa and read consumer FAQs on COBRA