I Am In The Military And I Get Health Insurance As Part Of My Retirement. If I Divorce, Does My Spouse Lose The Benefits?
Military retirement health insurance is a valuable asset in a military member’s retirement package.
Military members that serve for 20 years or more are typically able to receive retirement pay.
Active duty retirement pay entitles the military member to health insurance for the member and his or her dependents.
In a divorce among military spouses, the non-military spouse can qualify to keep the same medical benefits they received while married, including health care.
In order to qualify, they must meet the 20/20/20 rule.
The non-military spouse must be married to the service member for 20 years or more, the service member must have been in the military for at least 20 years, and there must be an overlap of 20 years or more between the military service and the marriage.
There is also a 20/20/15 rule - if the first two requirements are met, but only 15 years of the marriage overlapped with military service, the spouse is only entitled to one year of medical coverage.
Spouses who do not qualify under either of those rules are still eligible for health insurance under COBRA.
COBRA provides 36 months of insurance with a private provider, but the spouse has to pay a premium for the coverage.
Because of these rules, it’s important if a long-term military marriage is involved, to carefully evaluate the timing of the divorce.
If you are one year away from meeting the 20/20/20 rule, and you decide to divorce, it may be worth delaying the divorce in order to keep the lifelong health insurance.
The length of marriage is calculated based on the final judgment of dissolution of the marriage.