Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Healthier and Wiser: You and Your Family

Healthier and Wiser

Many people who have health insurance obtain it through an employer. However, there may be times in your life when you are without coverage, facing coverage choices or grappling with retirement health issues. The "Healthier and Wiser" series will address some of the main health care coverage issues women encounter at different stages of their lives. It will point you in the direction of where to go to find more information. It is not intended as legal advice. You can check out the "Healthier and Wiser" series on Wednesdays.

This Week: You and Your Family

1. What are your rights to health care coverage through your husband’s job if you and your husband separate or divorce? If your husband dies? What are your children’s or step-children’s rights in these cases?
  • In general, a divorce or the death of the spouse with the plan qualifies you under COBRA to remain covered under the plan for up to 36 months, but your own circumstances could lengthen or shorten this period. Children covered under the plan may be able to retain coverage even longer in the event of a divorce. If you are getting a divorce or need to enforce child support, you should also ask your attorney about filing a qualified medical support order (QMSO). A QMSO can be used to require employer-sponsored group health plans to extend health care coverage to the children of a parent/employee who is divorced, separated, or never married when ordered to do so by state authorities.
2. Can you or your family qualify for health care coverage through the military if one of you served and was honorably discharged even though s/he did not serve a full 20-year career?
  • Depending on your family’s income, you and your family may be eligible for health care coverage through the military, even if the one who served did not serve a full career. You should contact your local Veteran’s Affairs office if you think you might qualify; their phone number and address is in your telephone directory in the federal government section, or go to US Department of Veterans Affairs website to find the office nearest you.

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