Divorce is a difficult time for any Minnesota resident, no matter how amicable or well organized the process is. After divorce, a significant challenge for many couples going through a complex asset divorce is figuring out insurance coverage for both spouses. Insurance may be an afterthought to some people, but the reality is that many families choose to get insurance through a spouse’s employer and that coverage doesn’t automatically continue after a divorce.

The University of Michigan conducted a study that concludes that around 115,000 women lose health insurance benefits every year after divorce. The problem affects women more often than men, but is a serious issue for anyone in the midst of a divorce. The University analyzed data from women aged 26 to 64 years old and showed that these women remain uninsured for as long as two years after a divorce.

In this situation, Minnesotans going through divorce should plan accordingly and take necessary precautions to maintain health insurance. Initially, ex-spouses who no longer qualify as a family member can most likely continue under their ex-spouse’s insurance plan by federal law; the plan is called COBRA. COBRA benefits last for only 36 months, so it’s important to make another plan to continue coverage after that.

Additionally, during a high asset divorce, it is advisable to include the insurance plan provision in the complex asset division agreement between the spouses. New health insurance should be taken and the cost of the insurance can be calculated while dividing assets. This can secure the premium payment as a part of the divorce settlement.

Insurance maintenance can be complicated. But following a proper strategy can help protect one’s interest after divorce. Minnesotans going through divorce should be aware of their rights, liabilities and the applicable federal laws. In order to secure their life after divorce, people in certain situations should consider consulting a legal professional. The professional can guide a woman to understand her financial needs post-divorce and assist her in setting up a strong financial plan.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Divorce And Insurance: Many Women Lose Private Health Insurance Post-Split” Nov. 14, 2012