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Be aware of your health insurance coverage rights during and after divorce

Health insurance is a critical asset nowadays, one which Americans cannot afford to go without. This is why it is so important in divorce to have a plan worked out for ensuring coverage for oneself and one's children. Fortunately, states have recognized this and have put certain protections in place for divorcing couples so that lack of insurance coverage is not an issue.

Under Arizona law, spouse and children who are dependent on the other spouse for health insurance are able to continue being covered under the plan, but the dependent spouse and/or his or her children must take steps to continue receiving coverage. First of all, if a dependent spouse wants to continue their coverage after the divorce is completed, he or she has to contact the insurance company immediately and begin paying insurance premiums within 31 days of the date the insurance coverage would otherwise terminate. This can be done with respect to both oneself and one's children if one is responsible for their care.

In terms of preexisting conditions and exclusions, it is important to know that the insurance company is not able to require proof of insurability or to impose any new conditions other than what was already excluded or not covered before the divorce. The one situation where insurance coverage is not required to be continued is when one would be over-insured when taking into account all sources of insurance coverage.

Because complications can sometimes arise with respect to health insurance in divorce, it is important to work with an experienced attorney who understands your rights and who is able to protect them in court.

Source: Maricopa County Judicial Branch, "Notice of Your Rights About Health Insurance Coverage When A Petition For Dissolution Is Filed," Accessed September 26, 2014.

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