A party may be ordered to maintain health insurance for his or her spouse and/or children as part of a support order, where the health insurance coverage is available for the payor spouse at no cost or at a reasonable cost. The payment of health insurance for a spouse and/or children is factored into the total support award (child or spousal support) and included in the support order. The cost of the health insurance is allocated as part of the support award based upon the income percentages of the parties. While a spouse has no obligation to cover his or her former spouse after divorce, the obligation to provide health insurance coverage for one’s children may continue until the child support obligation has concluded. The child support obligation terminates on the later date of the child turning eighteen years of age and graduating high school. After the divorce decree has been entered, a former spouse, if eligible, may elect to continue insurance coverage pursuant to the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). COBRA applies to private employers having more than twenty employees as well as to state and local health plans. COBRA provides for eligible individuals to continue their health insurance coverage under the employer’s group policy for a period after the date of the divorce decree. The eligible individuals must
pay the premium costs for the continued coverage, with the former spouse having no responsibility for the payment of the premiums. Once the COBRA period has expired, the individual must obtain their own health insurance coverage. The issue of health insurance coverage continues to be an important matter in many divorce cases. Parties should consider such costs as part of the equitable division of the marital estate and/or an award of alimony.