Getting a Divorce Triggers a Special Enrollment Period

Going through a divorce can be a very stressful time, and it is unlikely that your health insurance coverage is at the forefront of your mind throughout the proceedings. However, if your current health insurance policy is not in your name and health insurance coverage is not included in the settlement, then the health insurance company will drop you from the policy as soon as the divorce is finalized.

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It is the member’s responsibility to inform the insurance company of the divorce. The bad news is, that a divorce by itself is not a “special enrollment period”, but, if you LOSE coverage because of the divorce, you’ll have 60 days to take action. So, act right away.

How A Divorce Affects Health Insurance Coverage

To avoid being surprised by high medical bills, it is a good idea to consider your health insurance options before losing your coverage. If you are finding yourself without health insurance due to a recent divorce, you will be able to sign up for a new plan without waiting for the Open Enrollment Period provided you did lose the coverage because of the divorce.

This period is called a “Special Enrollment Period”. You’ll have 60 days from the date of the loss of your coverage to enroll into a new plan. But act quickly, because once this 60 days is over, you will have to wait until the annual open enrollment period which in Nevada is November through January 15th.  It’s best to call as soon as you know your insurance will be ending.

Getting Health Insurance After a Divorce

There are several options for obtaining new health insurance after going through a divorce. There are many factors to consider, however. Your or your ex’s employer’s benefits, your age – if you are under 26 and on your parents’ insurance coverage, your income/financial situation, if you have dependents on your tax return, and many other considerations. A health insurance agent can help you weigh your options to come up with the best solution for you. Make sure you tell your agent you want a “Qualified Health Plan”. This is very important.


If your health insurance is through your former spouse’s employer, COBRA provides you with a way to keep your current coverage. After the divorce, you have 60 days to determine whether you want to keep your coverage, and you are allowed to keep your health insurance plan through COBRA for up to 18 months. It’s really important to speak with an agent before electing Cobra. You may be eligible for a Government “Subsidy” to help you pay your health insurance premiums depending on your income and circumstances, however, if you elect the Cobra, you will not be eligible for a subsidy until it’s “Open Enrollment” (November 1st through January 15th each year).

Cobra coverage is usually very good; however, the downside is that COBRA tends to be the most expensive option. Not only do you pay your monthly premium, but you also pay the employer’s portion of the premium they used to pay, and possibly a small fee too.

Health Insurance Through Your Employer

If your employer provides health insurance, this is typically the most cost-effective option, because if you are offered coverage through your employer, you are most likely NOT eligible for a government subsidy. It is very important you understand this.

Like private health insurance plans, you can sign up for employer-based health insurance during the enrollment period that opens up after the divorce. Talk to your Human Resources department as soon as possible to avoid missing your opportunity to make changes to avoid losing your chance to get insurance through your employer if it’s offered.

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Navigating Health Insurance After Divorce with Nevada Insurance Enrollment

If it has been a long time since you have had to shop for health insurance coverage, the process can feel daunting. At Nevada Insurance Enrollment, our health insurance agents guide you through the entire process, from finding the right health insurance plan for your needs and budget to signing up for coverage and understanding the claims process.

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Read More: Health Insurance in Las Vegas, Nevada


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