Ex-husband can’t change COBRA plan

When my husband and I divorced, I went on Cobra. He paid the monthly payments and I pay all copays and deductibles. What I didn’t know is that I legally have the right to pick the terms of my plan within certain limitations. Not only did I not have this chance but my husband chose a plan much different than the one we had while we were married. As I have a medical condition I quickly ran up thousands of dollars of debt before I discovered the change in my plan.

Does my ex have a responsibility to notify me of these changes?

Out From Under His Thumb

Dear Out From Under His Thumb,

COBRA coverage continues the plan that you had before the family status change, which in your case was a divorce.  Your husband must have changed the plan shortly before your divorce.  This made your COBRA plan different from what you were used to.

You are in charge of your COBRA plan, even if he is paying the monthly premiums.  If you have a choice of plans, you have a right to make that choice – not your ex-husband.  Your signature would be required to make any changes.  Your ex-husband would have nothing to notify you about, since it is between you and the insurer.

As a first step, you might want to call the plan and make sure that you are receiving all notices and your ex is only receiving the premium bills.  They may still have your old address in their system.  Then, find out about your options and how to make your choices.

Linda Riddell

About Linda Riddell

A published author and health policy analyst with 25 years’ experience, Linda Riddell's goal is to alleviate the widespread ailment of not knowing what your health plan can do for you.