Can You Keep Your Spouse On Your Health Insurance After A Divorce
It would be best if you had a good idea of your plan before the end of your divorce as far as health insurance for yourself and your children. This is a topic that is frequently disregarded during the months-long process of getting a divorce. I think this is a bad idea, and I counsel clients often and making sure that they have a proper plan in place as far as how to protect their health and ensure that coverage is the place for themselves and their family after the divorce has concluded.
I frequently write about how choices and options are a good thing when it comes to divorce. You do not want to be in a position, for instance, where you have to go a specific route only because you don’t have a choice. Or, your two choices are equally bad, and as a result, you end up picking the least bad of two terrible options. Health insurance is no different. You want to have options to choose from, but sometimes the sheer volume of options for you to consider regarding health insurance can be daunting.
Orders To Remain On Health Insurance And The Practical Consequences Of These Orders
Whether or not a Court will make orders to keep you on your spouses health insurance often depends on the length of the marriage and the marital standard of living. If your spouse has kept you on their health insurance for many years, it is more likely that the Court will order that you must remain on your spouses health insurance after the divorce is over. However, even if a court makes orders to keep you on your spouses health insurance, this is not always an effective way to handle the health insurance situation.
Once the divorce is final, you are no longer legally married to your former spouse. Therefore, most health insurance companies make it very difficult for non-spouses to remain covered on a health insurance policy. For this reason, it is much more effective to obtain orders that your former spouse will have to pay for a comparable health insurance plan for you, after the marriage is over. This will ensure that you are not at the mercy of your former spouses health insurance company, when you are no longer married to you former spouse.
If you are going through a divorce and health insurance coverage is an issue in your divorce, you should hire an experienced divorce attorney to assist you. Health insurance coverage is an important issue, especially if you cannot afford to pay for health insurance on your own, and having an experienced divorce attorney will ensure that you will be covered.
What Are The Different Types Of Health Insurance Available
There are several types:
- Employer-provided medical insurance. The best source for medical insurance today is your employer-provided plan because its cost is most likely subsidized by your employer. These medical plans are generally one of four types: indemnity plans, service provider plans, preferred provider plans, or health maintenance organizations.
- Individual medical insurance. Medical insurance policies are available directly from insurance companies for individuals. The advantage of this type of policy is that you may shop for the type of benefits you want. The disadvantage is you have to pay the whole cost of the policy premiums.
- Medicare. Medicare provides mandatory basic hospitalization benefits for all U.S. citizens over the age of 65 under Part A coverage. Part B coverage is a voluntary program that provides coverage for doctor bills at a monthly cost to the participant. Medicare typically covers only half of the average senior citizen’s health care bills. It may be supplemented with Medigap insurance.
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How Long Is He Supposed To Carry Health Insurance On Our Child
Bobbi’s Question: In our divorce decree it stated my ex was responsible for paying 60% of medical costs as well as carrying both children on his health insurance. The youngest is 23 and in her first year of law school and is still considered a covered dependent. My ex lost his job, as well as the insurance he carried on my daughter. He said per the divorce decree his obligation to his children ended when they turned 18. The decree does not say how long he is to carry the insurance. When does the health coverage obligation end?
Brette’s Answer: In most states it continues to age 18 or 21, depending on state law or how the decree is worded.
Will Childs Health Insurance Coverage Be Affected By Divorce
No, it is often the case that children will not be affected when it comes to health insurance and divorce. They are still going to be covered by the parent who is going to have the health insurance policy.
This is going to be something that a judge can help with. They are able to determine the parent responsible and explain what the coverage will be. For instance, it is often the case that the parent that pays child support will have a better health insurance plan. This means the child will commonly have coverage with them.
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If I Qualify How Affordable Is Medicare
Extremely so due to premium sharing with the federal government. Costs are funded through Medicare taxes deducted from workers wages and self-employment income. It covers anywhere from 77% to 99% of the actual costs.
Part A covers hospital expenses, skilled nursing facilities, and so forth. It is covered 100% by the government.
Part B covers outpatient services, doctor services, and related costs. It is not free, but those who enroll pay a premium that is equal to only 25% of the cost of Part B. In 2019, that amount is $135.50 per month, per person. Higher-income individuals could pay more through IRMAA rules.
Part D is prescription drug coverage. Costs vary depending on what plan you choose, but in 2019, the average cost is about $32.50 per month.
All of these costs do not take into account some deductibles and co-pays that will need to be met.
Talk To Your Attorney About A Settlement
If you remain unsure as to how you will afford, or even find quality health insurance after your divorce, talk to your family law attorney about reaching an agreement with your former spouse before the divorce is finalized. Your family law attorney can help you negotiate terms that make post-divorce health insurance coverage affordable. If you have any further questions regarding health insurance coverage, either before or after your divorce settlement, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office.
If you have questions about health insurance and divorce, please contact Laurie Wasserman at or 410-842-1070. The legal team at the Law Office of Laurie M. Wasserman is here to help guide and advocate for you.
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Obtaining Or Terminating Benefits After Divorce
Perhaps you are considering a divorce in the State of New Jersey, or perhaps you are already divorced and paying alimony or child support. No matter what your situation may be, a divorce can significantly affect all of your benefits. Find out about obtaining or terminating benefits after divorce, including:
- Health insurance
Rhode Island Health Insurance After Divorce
If youre facing divorce as a Rhode Island resident, youll need to be well versed on your rights and options regarding health insurance. Generally, one spouse cant remove their partner from a shared health insurance plan until the divorce is final. However, what happens following the Final Judgment of Divorce is a different story.
While the Rhode Island Health Insurance Continuation Act is in place to allow a person to remain on their ex-spouses health insurance after the Final Judgment of Divorce, ERISA often overrules this Act. ERISA is a federal law that sets minimum standards for health plans in private industries to protect individuals under these plans. This means health insurance coverage following the Final Judgment of Divorce is not always guaranteed.
While awaiting a divorce settlement, the parties should seek the employers policy and procedures related to the continuation of coverage from the companys benefits administrator. If it is determined that the benefits will be extended to an ex-spouse following divorce, that should be put on the record and into the Decision Pending Entry of Final Judgment as well as the Final Judgment of Divorce. Typically we say something like:
Plaintiff shall provide Defendant with Health Insurance and Dental Insurance pursuant to the Rhode Island Health Insurance Continuation Act.
Below are a few common health insurance options available to individuals following divorce.
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Who Covers The Kids Health Insurance
Children can remain on the existing insurance plan as dependents without any disruption. Its also possible for a child to switch to the other parents insurance or to be on both plans. The latter is helpful if the primary health care insurance doesnt fully cover the childs medical care.
Regardless, when child support is involved, federal law requires the order to include medical support, which can be private health insurance from an employer or the marketplace, public health care coverage such as Medicaid or payment toward the childs health care costs.
In cases where parents cant come to a mutual decision about whose insurance will cover their kids, a court may determine who is responsible for providing their childs health insurance coverage.
There are families whose incomes are too high to qualify for Medicaid, but too low to afford private coverage. In these cases, they can seek health coverage for their uninsured kids through the joint federal and state-run Childrens Health Insurance Program .
Income eligibility levels vary from state to state and range from as low as 170% of the federal poverty level up to 400% of the FPL.3 You can find the income eligibility standards on medicaid.gov.
Health Insurance In An Uncontested Divorce
What happens during a divorce when one spouse receives his/her health insurance benefits through the other spouse?
Health insurance is considered another component of spousal support. Just as individuals who have children must decide which of the parents will be providing health insurance coverage for the children, the adults need to determine which former spouse is going to provide health insurance for them both.
According to the laws in Massachusetts, a company may be required to continue providing an ex-spouse with health insurance under its employees plan. However, both parties will need to make particular statements to ensure that the language meets the criteria.
Additionally, the spouses must decide who will:
- Pay the deductibles
- Pay the Premiums
- Be held responsible for medical expenses that insurance does not cover
When one spouse relies on the other for his/her health insurance, divorce can put a spouse at risk of losing health insurance benefits. According to the Massachusetts Bar Association, women are at a higher risk because they are twice as likely to have their health insurance coverage through their husbands employer. Judges must take the health insurance coverage of both parties into consideration.
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How Will My Divorce Affect My Health Insurance Benefits
A divorce can have a major effect on where family members get their health insurance benefits. Many families get coverage through one spouse’s employer, who provides and perhaps pays for health insurance benefits covering the entire family. After a divorce, however, the spouse with family health insurance coverage can no longer cover the dependent spouse. The dependent spouse is no longer a “family member” who can take advantage of the employer-based policy. There is no way around this unfortunate reality. If a couple gets divorced, then the dependent spouse will lose his or her health insurance coverage.
If one spouse does not have adequate health insurance benefits available, and the cost of obtaining COBRA benefits or an alternative health insurance policy is prohibitive, then there is one way to continue benefits without additional cost: Enter into a separation agreement, but delay filing for divorce. That way, the parties remain married and can stay on the same health insurance plan even though they are separated. The spouses can consent to waiting for one, two, or more years before either spouse files for divorce. While the couple will remain married, their property, custody, and support issues will be addressed in their separation agreement. Under some circumstances, this is an optimal resolution.
Health Insurance After A Divorce
Who is Responsible for Health Insurance After a New York Divorce?
As many Long Island divorce lawyers, like Attorney Shapiro, frequently discuss, there are nuances to separations and divorce. Often, an important issue in a divorce is how both parties will continue to protect their wellbeing with health insurance. Most of the time, families in New York rely on benefits for health insurance that come from the employer of one party in the marriage. This is particularly true in cases where the family only has one working spouse or the employer of the other does not offer health insurance. However, if a couple divorces, the insurance benefits that covered the entire family prior to the divorce will no longer work in the same way. As such, arrangements will need if both spouses are to have health insurance after their divorce.
To ensure that the non-working spouse can continue to manage their own needs and the needs of their children when it comes to health insurance after a divorce, the courts must consider multiple scenarios. One option that Attorney Shapiro sees in many cases is the decision to obtain “COBRA” benefits. The term “COBRA” refers to a federal law which asks insurance companies to extend their coverage of qualifying beneficiaries in a health insurance package in the event of specific issues taking place. COBRA benefits are often offered to employees who have their positions terminated, and they’re also available to spouses following a divorce in some cases.
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Get Copies Of All Your Financial Statements
Get everything in writing. Everything. While the court may not care about proof of your spouse’s affair, it will care about proof of your assets, so start compiling as much documentation as possible.
Be careful not to rely on electronic copies, however, warns Shelly Church, a certified financial planner and senior vice president of investments for Raymond James. You don’t want to risk getting locked out of your information if a vindictive spouse decides to change the passwords to all of the joint accounts, so print everything out.
This includes bank account statements, tax forms, brokerage firm statements, and any financial documents you’ve signed in the last few years.
What If I Cant Afford The Court Ordered Medical Insurance For Our Kids
Nicole’s Question: I am divorced and in my decree I am to carry health insurance for my children. I refused cobra because it was too high and I have 3 children. With what I am collecting plus support I am bringing in 810.00 a week. My children’s medication without insurance is 600.00 a month. I make too much for assistance and he’s telling me he only has to pay for un-reimbursed medical and is saying I am in contempt for not having insurance. Is this true?
Brette’s Answer: If you were ordered to provide the insurance and do not, then yes, you are in contempt. Have you checked into a state health insurance for children? Many states offer programs that are billed on a sliding scale. You could also seek to modify your order based on your financial circumstances and the medical costs involved.
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Do I Have To Keep My Step
Danielle’s Question: My husband previous divorce required court ordered medical insurance on his daughter . He was self-employed, so I added her to my plan. We’re separated and going to start the divorce process. Am I obligated to keep his daughter on my plan until the divorce is final…or can I remove her from my insurance (or is she also my responsibility?
Brette’s Answer: You have no legal obligation to a child that is not your own.
Can I Stay On My Exs Insurance
Likewise, your spouse cannot typically remove you from his or her insurance until the divorce is finalized. However, in most cases after the divorce case is finalized, you will most likely be removed from your spouses plan. This is because the ex-spouse is usually no longer considered a dependent of the spouse who has health insurance and does not qualify for coverage.
However, there are some states that may allow you to stay on your spouses health insurance plan such as Massachusetts but remarriage or other issues may affect this coverage. In other states, a couple may technically get divorced but delay the entry of the divorce or resolve financial and custody issues at a time later than the divorce is declared.
Most employer-based insurance plans allow the dependent spouse to seek coverage with COBRA insurance for up to three years following divorce if they pay the premium. COBRA coverage is often much more expensive than the typical premium. Some spouses may include the payment of health insurance in a divorce settlement.
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What If Your Ex
If you are having issues contacting your ex-spouse about contributing to your childs medical expenses or they are refusing to pay medical bills or child support, it is important to understand your legal rights. When it comes to medical expenses, payment and contribution are regarded similarly to child support. If your ex-spouse fails to contribute, it may have legal consequences. If you need legal guidance surrounding your situation, speak with an experienced family law lawyer at King Law.
Additionally, it is important to do the following before speaking with your lawyer:
- Document all instances of attempted contact
- Keep all paperwork associated with your divorce
- With an experienced lawyer, you may be able to file a petition against your ex-spouse for payment
Providing proof of attempted contact or refusal of payment will help ensure you have a solid case against your ex-spouse, and the court may be able to adequately compensate you.