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Should older divorcees worry more about insurance?

Spouses often receive their health insurance from a policy owned by their spouse/through their spouse’s employer; however, if you should divorce, you might end up losing your health coverage. If you happen to divorce in your older years, losing your health insurance is particularly troubling.

As you age, you may experience more health problems, which makes having health insurance more important since you will have more medical costs. However, according to Forbes, a divorce can deprive you of certain forms of insurance coverage. 

Employer insurance 

If you do not have a job but your spouse currently works, your spouse may have health insurance provided by the employer. As a spouse, you may benefit from that insurance policy. Once your divorce is complete and you have separated from your spouse, you might lose the coverage under that employment policy. While you have the federal right to maintain your coverage under COBRA for three (3) years beyond divorce, talk to your divorce attorney about including in your Property Settlement Agreement a provision that your soon-to-be spouse pay for some or all of that coverage.

Life insurance 

You may also face a loss of coverage from a life insurance policy on your former spouse. Your spouse may have taken out a life insurance policy and had named you as a beneficiary. However, if the policy beneficiaries are revocable, your spouse has the ability to take your name off the policy without your say. This can place you in a position where you have few options to preserve your coverage. If the divorce process begins, you may be able to address the issue of your coverage. Even so, many people generally retain the option after a divorce to remove the names of their former spouses from their life insurance. Talk to your divorce attorney about including in your Property Settlement Agreement a provision that your soon-to-be former spouse maintain you as a beneficiary on that life insurance policy, include proof of coverage, etc.

Preserving insurance 

The Forbes article points out that gray divorce is on the rise, so an increasing number of older people are likely to confront the problem of losing insurance when they decide to end their marriages. Some couples work out an arrangement in their divorce settlements to keep coverage for an ex-spouse, so losing health coverage is not a given. Keeping this issue in mind might help you to explore options that may preserve your coverage in the event of a divorce. 

Talk to the attorneys at OWM Law about your options and legal rights.

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