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Joseph
Joseph, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5299
Experience:  Extensive experience representing employees and management
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Hi, I am going through a no-contest divorce right now in

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Hi,

I am going through a no-contest divorce right now in the state of California. The divorce should be final in the coming weeks.

I am on Cal-COBRA from my ex-employer (my federal COBRA ran out after 18 months which is why I am on Cal-COBRA). I want to retain my spouse on my health insurance plan.

I believe that my spouse can be on my health plan for a maximum of 36 months after the divorce.

My question is, will my spouse be able to be on my COBRA, even though I myself am on Cal-COBRA? In other words, is COBRA on Cal-COBRA possible?

Thanks!
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer.

I'm very sorry to hear about your situation and hope I can help.

Your spouse can stay on your health insurance through COBRA for up to 36 months if the qualifying event was your divorce rather than your termination.

Since your initial qualifying event was your termination, the covered period is actually only 18 months under federal COBRA, so, unfortunately, you cannot keep your wife on your health insurance through COBRA

(Otherwise, this would create an odd situation, where the spouse of an employee terminated over 18 months before the divorce could retain health insurance benefits through COBRA that the employee him or herself was not entitled to).

I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX had better news to give you, but I hope you appreciate a direct and honest answer to your question.

Hello Vikki,

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Thanks and best of luck!

-Joseph
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Hi Joseph,

Thank you for your direct response. What you said makes sense. However, I am still a bit confused because I am still on the original employee plan, just not through federal COBRA, but through Cal-COBRA. I have about 16 months left on this.

So if I understand you correctly, my spouse cannot even avail of the remaining 16 months of Cal-COBRA in the event of divorce?

Bonus question: If it was legal separation instead of divorce, can she remain on the existing plan according to CA law?

Thank you so much!!
Hello Sufee,

No, that's not what I meant. Your wife can still use the remaining 16 months of Cal-COBRA in the event of a divorce. She just wouldn't be eligible for federal COBRA continuation benefits.

So, regardless of whether there is a divorce or a separation, your wife would still be able to use Cal-COBRA for another 16 months of health insurance, as long as she covers the premiums.
Hello Sufee,

Please remember to rate my answer positively so I get credit for my work!

(If you don't have any follow up questions).

Thanks and best of luck!
Joseph and other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you

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