The ABCs of Open Enrollment For Health Insurance After a Divorce

January 9, 2023

Getting divorced is stressful. Dealing with health insurance shouldn’t add to that stress. This guide makes understanding open enrollment after divorce easier, so you can focus on a fresh start with the right medical coverage. Most employers have a contract with the insurance company that defines who is eligible for health insurance. Divorce generally disqualifies you from your ex’es plan. So, part of divorce is understanding your options for health insurance coverage.

Understanding Your Open Enrollment for Health Insurance Options


  • COBRA: Your ex’s employer-based plan may continue covering you for up to 36 months. This is convenient but might be expensive since you pay the full premium, not just your previous share. This is because many employers pay part of the deductible for their employees. The employer does not want to pay this benefit after divorce for an ex-spouse, so the cost is higher.
  • Affordable Care Act (ACA): You get a Special Enrollment Period after divorce. This means you don’t wait for regular open enrollment and you can buy health insurance right away! Visit for plans and potential savings based on your new income.
  • Employer’s Plan: If you have a job, see if you can enroll now due to your divorce (another SEP). Ask HR about costs for their plans.

Costs to Consider


  • Premiums: The monthly amount you pay for a plan. These might be higher as a single person compared to being on a spouse’s plan.
  • Deductibles: The amount you pay out-of-pocket before insurance kicks in. High-deductible plans often have lower premiums but leave you paying more when you need care.
  • Tax Credits: If your income is lower as a single person, you might qualify for discounts on your ACA insurance. The discounts can make insurance affordable and the only people who know you have discounts and subsidies are you, your tax person and the government. It is not marked on your health insurance card.

Choosing the Right Plan

  1. Compare! Use, your employer’s options, and consider talking to an independent insurance broker.
  2. Check Pre-Existing Conditions: Some plans have exclusions or charge more for ongoing health issues. if you have a medical issue that requires treatment and that you have gotten treatment for in the past, check to make sure there is not a waiting period.
  3. Weigh Costs vs. Coverage: Do you need a lot of doctor visits? Or just want protection for emergencies? This will guide your choice.

Additional Tips

  • Deadlines Matter: Special Enrollment Periods have time limits (usually 60 days). Don’t miss out on coverage!
  • Get Help: Insurance is confusing – there’s no shame in asking an insurance broker or financial advisor for guidance.

Don’t Worry, You Got This!

Open enrollment for health insurance after divorce might feel overwhelming, but you have options. By taking it step-by-step and using the resources available, you’ll find the right health insurance to protect your well-being. If you are ready to start down the path of your uncontested divorce, feel free to reach out to my office. I have helped scores of people in the past 19+ years navigate through this life transition in a peaceful manner, focusing on their new future. Call me or contact me through my website if you are ready to start down the path.

Disclaimer: This blog post is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is formed by reading this content. Always consult with a qualified attorney regarding your specific legal situation.