You might be entitled to keep your medical insurance benefits under your former spouse's group plan. The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 created what are commonly known as "C.O.B.R.A." benefits, which are available to the former spouses of people who work for employers who have 20 or more employees.
In general this law provides that employers must offer "continuation coverage" for the first three years after the termination of the marriage. The law further provides that the employer can charge the former spouse for this coverage, but the charge cannot be more than 2% greater than what is charged to employees.
After the three years have ended, the law states that the employer must offer a former spouse the right to purchase "conversion coverage", but there are no limits on how much the employer can charge for this coverage.
The C.O.B.R.A law further provides that the former spouse does not have to pass a physical examination in order to obtain the continuation or conversion benefits. This is significant if you have any pre-existing conditions that might not be covered by another medical insurance carrier.
In order to obtain your C.O.B.R.A. benefits you have to file your application with your spouse's employer by no later than sixty (60) days after the termination of your marriage. If you do not file your application by that date you will not be able to ge t these important benefits.
If you wish to have your C.O.B.R.A. benefits you must contact your former spouse's employer directly and request the appropriate forms. This is not a service that is customarily performed by our office. You must contact your former spouse's employer directly if you want to obtain these benefits.
At the current time, the federal government is subsidizing much of the cost of this continuation coverage.
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