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Can you continue to get FEHB after divorcing a federal employee?

On Behalf of | Mar 6, 2024 | Family Law |

Health insurance isn’t generally at the top of any divorcing person’s list of things to worry about. However, it should be – at least if you’ve been getting your health insurance through your spouse’s employer-sponsored plan.

If you’ve been relying on your soon-to-be ex’s Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) for coverage, you may be able to continue to receive FEHB after your divorce is final. However, the coverage will need to be in your name. You can’t continue to be on your spouse’s plan (although your children can until they age out).

What are the qualifications for continued coverage?

Under the Spouse Equity Act, ex-spouses of federal employees and retirees can get their own FEHB coverage as long as:

  • They had coverage under their spouse’s plan for at least one day in the 18 months leading up to the divorce.
  • Their spouse was a federal employee or receiving a federal government annuity when they divorced.
  • They haven’t remarried prior to turning 55.

If you qualify for continued FEHB insurance under your own plan, you need to notify the appropriate office within 60 days of your divorce becoming final so that you can choose your new plan. It’s best not to wait until the last minute to do this. 

What if you don’t qualify for continued FEHB coverage?

If you don’t qualify for your own FEHB coverage, you have the option of getting what’s called temporary continuation of coverage (TCC). This can give you coverage until you get other insurance either through your employer, through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) insurance options or elsewhere. You can use TCC for as long as three years.

Aside from importance of not having your health insurance coverage end when you divorce, another reason for addressing this matter sooner rather than later is that the cost of coverage for you and your children (regardless of which parent includes them on their plan) can be a factor in determining child and spousal support orders and potentially other agreements that you and your spouse negotiate in the divorce.

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