What to do about a divorce and lose of health insurance?

UPDATED: Nov 20, 2012

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What to do about a divorce and lose of health insurance?

I recently became divorced. Per my divorce agreement, I was covered by my husband’s health insurance until the divorce became final. My ex-husband did not notify his HR department of our divorce until more than 90 days after the divorce was final. When he did, they post-dated the cancellation of my insurance to the original date of the divorce. I had been trying to get health coverage through my employer but had been denied due to already having coverage. Now that the cancellation has taken place, I am being denied coverage because the qualifying event occurred more than 60 days ago. Even though it was only entered into the system a few days ago. Furthermore, I am now told that, even if I purchase my own policy now, my pre-existing conditions will not be covered due to the lapse greater than 63 days. I have done everything I was told to do and, because the information was not put into the system in a timely way, I am not being penalized. What should I do? Do I even have any legal rights in this situation?

Asked on November 20, 2012 under Insurance Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You would not have any claim against your ex-husband's employer or their insurer, or your employer or their insurer, if the followed all the correct rules about eligibility, which it seems they did.  (For example: a non-spouse legally may not be covered under an employee's health insurance; your ex-husband's employer had to backdate the cancellation to the date the divorce was final and you were no longer eligible for coverage.) The above said, the insurance rules can be very complex; you should consult with an attorney who practices in the area of health insurance, to see if the rules are being correctly applied or not, and if you have any options for appeals or other ways to get around the rules.

If your ex-husband violated the terms of the divorce agreement or else deliberately or negligently (unreasonably carelessly)  acted in a such a way as to damage you (such as by making you ineligible for coverage), you may have a legal claim against him, and could possibly, for example, seek monetary compensation to reflect additional insurance or health care costs you have or will incur. This is something else you can discuss with the attorney.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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