If you’re married to a current or retired federal employee, you likely have health insurance through the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program. Fortunately, even if you’re not a federal employee or retiree yourself, you can continue to receive health insurance through this program.
However, it’s important to know whether you qualify for temporary or longer-term coverage. Let’s take a brief look at how this works.
Spouse Equity coverage and TCC
The ex-spouse of a current or retired federal employee can have their own FEHB plan (also known as Spouse Equity coverage because it’s granted under the Spouse Equity Act) as long as:
- They were covered under their spouse’s plan at any point within the 18 months leading up to the divorce.
- They have a court order that gives them a portion of their former spouse’s annuity or survivor benefit.
- They do not remarry before they turn 55.
If you don’t meet these requirements, you can still get a temporary continuation of coverage (TCC) under the FEHB program for up to three years after your divorce is final.
It’s wise to compare costs
It’s important to find out what any continued FEHB coverage is going to cost you because it will be more expensive than being covered under your spouse’s Self Plus One or Self and Family plan. You’ll probably want to do a cost comparison with plans available under the Affordable Care Act if you don’t have access to your own employee-sponsored health insurance plan. There’s a 60-day time limit for deciding on any kind of continued coverage.
If you have children, you and your spouse should also work out which of you will include them on your health insurance. Again, you’ll likely want to do some comparison and work out who will pay for their coverage.
It’s a lot to think about. Fortunately, as the soon-to-be-ex of a federal employee or retiree, you don’t have to worry about losing your health insurance once you sign the divorce decree. However, you do need to make some decisions sooner rather than later. Having sound legal guidance with this and other decisions is always beneficial.