COBRA coverage lasts only 36 months.

That’s the conventional wisdom, but it may not be true. It is true that COBRA, which applies to companies with 20 or more employees, only requires 36 months of group health plan coverage for divorced spouses. But an employer’s plan isn’t limited to providing only 36 months of coverage, and it may provide for a longer term.

That creates a planning opportunity for a divorcing client who wishes to provide extended coverage to his ex-spouse through his small business. He can modify the group term plan to allow for extended coverage, as long as it applies to all other divorcing employees as well.

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