The Impact of Divorce on Your Health Insurance Coverage

Sometimes, one spouse covers the other for insurance because their company offers better coverage plans or the other partner doesn’t work. A divorce can impact this, as the two individuals no longer have a legal tie to one another, which can create stress for one partner. Understanding the impact of divorce on your health insurance coverage helps you prepare for this major life change.

The Importance of Health Insurance Coverage

Having health insurance is vital as it protects us from unexpected, high medical costs. In Colorado, companies with 50 or more full-time employees must offer health insurance plans to their workers. These plans include options for the employee to cover their children and spouse; one partner may cover the other, but if both partners work at a company that offers insurance, they can also have separate plans.

How Divorce Impacts Health Insurance Coverage

Divorce can impact health insurance coverage in a few ways, as it’s a major life event. However, it’s important to note that in Colorado, a soon-to-be ex-spouse can’t cancel health insurance as an act of retaliation during the divorce proceeding.

Before making changes to health insurance, both parties must agree to the change, put it in writing, and give a minimum of 14 days’ notice. Consult an attorney if you suspect that your spouse is willfully trying to modify the covered insurance plan dependents and cancel your coverage.

Jones Law Firm, PC

We have over 20 years of experience with Colorado’s family law legal system and take a personal interest in every case. One of our divorce modification attorneys can assist you. Schedule an appointment with our legal team for guidance through the divorce process.

How To Remain Covered After the Divorce

Although your spouse can’t vindictively drop you from their insurance plan during divorce proceedings, most policies won’t allow an individual to continue covering their ex after the divorce becomes finalized. The next steps depend on whether you work for a company that offers medical insurance.

Next Steps if Your Employer Offers Insurance

If you have a job that offers medical insurance coverage, you can enroll in that health insurance plan, even if it’s not your company’s annual open enrollment. Divorce is a “major life change,” so you and your dependents can sign up to ensure you remain covered.

Before accepting the plan, carefully read through its details, such as deductible costs and co-pay amounts. Also, review whether you need a referral to see a specialist and verify that any medical professionals you currently see accept the new plan. If they don’t, you’ll need to find new health-care providers.

Next Steps if Your Employer Doesn’t Offer Insurance

Individuals who are unemployed or work at a small company that doesn’t offer insurance will have different options than those with access to employer-sponsored insurance plans.


Depending on your spouse’s insurance, you may be eligible for COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Relocation Act) if you apply within the allotted time limit. Keep in mind that this can have expensive premiums, but it’s better than having no medical insurance coverage. If you’re unsure whether you’re eligible, contact the plan administrator and consult your attorney for help understanding the state laws.

Affordable Care Act Plans

The Affordable Care Act allows some people to enroll in marketplace insurance, a state or federal platform that provides affordable health insurance for those who qualify. Major events such as divorce allow you to enroll outside of regular open enrollment; you must apply within 60 days of the qualifying event.

If you can apply to Affordable Care Act plans insurance or COBRA, evaluate both plans and determine which is the most cost-effective.


If you’re unemployed and can’t afford insurance, you may apply for Medicaid. This is a government insurance plan designed for individuals and families with a low income who don’t have access to other coverage options.

Keep Your Children in Mind

In situations where the divorcing partners have children and will share custody, they need to decide which plan they will use to cover the children. Generally, if only one parent has employer-sponsored health insurance, they will continue covering the children as dependents on their insurance plan. No matter the situation, the Court requires that one parent covers the children for medical insurance.

Protecting Your Rights

When evaluating the impact of divorce on health insurance coverage, you need to know how to protect your rights to insurance. Act promptly and communicate with the other party to best protect your rights and coverage. Moreover, working with a divorce attorney who understands Colorado’s laws and nuances ensures that you receive professional legal guidance and can make the best decisions for your situation.

Act Promptly

Never wait to apply for insurance or review your coverage plans. If the other party currently covers you for health insurance, evaluate your financial situation to determine your next steps.

By acting as soon as possible, you give yourself time to review the details of your situation and can make a plan without feeling pressured by time. You can also consult an insurance agent to better understand your options.

Depending on the reason for your divorce, you and the other party may consider legal separation instead of divorce for the time being. Unlike divorce, legal separation still recognizes the marriage as legally binding, so partners can continue to treat each other as dependents. This is more common in an uncontested divorce.

During a legal separation, your partner can continue covering you and vice versa. Doing this also ensures that the individual who needs insurance has time to evaluate their options and select the most economical plan without the pressure of time and divorce looming over them.

Hire a Divorce Attorney

Health insurance laws can be complex, and what’s legal in one state may not be legal in another. Have a professional who understands the state laws and can advocate for your rights. A divorce attorney can assist in all aspects of your divorce and help you determine the ideal path for your post-divorce life.

Jones Law Firm, PC, Can Help

If you live in Denver, CO, or the surrounding area, Jones Law Firm, PC, can assist you with your divorce case. We always advocate for our client’s best interests and strive to protect your rights. Work with an attorney who’s knowledgeable about the state laws and will handle your case with compassion.

The Impact of Divorce on Your Health Insurance Coverage

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

Our team includes attorneys licensed to practice in multiple states including April D. Jones in California, Patrick G. Barkman in Texas, the Cherokee Nation, the Northern District of Texas, and the District of Colorado (United States Court of Appeals 10th and 5th Circuit).