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 employee’s 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 husband’s employer. Judges must take the health insurance coverage of both parties into consideration.
Probate and Family Court of Massachusetts Determines Coverage
The laws in Massachusetts allow the Probate and Family Court judges to determine if an ex-spouse can receive health insurance coverage through the obligor spouse’s employer-sponsored group health insurance plan. If group coverage for an ex-spouse is available, judges generally order that the insured spouse extends coverage for his/her dependent spouse.
Self-Insured or Insured
An employer-sponsored group health plan can be self-insured or insured.
When an employer offers employees a self-insured plan, the employer is responsible for the financial risk related to employees’ medical claims.
If an employer offers employees an insured plan, the employer buys coverage from a managed care organization (for example, a Health Maintenance Organization, aka HMO) or an insurance carrier. In doing so, the employer is not responsible for any of its employees’ medical claims.
Only Insured Plans Subject to the Insurance Laws in Massachusetts
Self-insured plans are not subject to the insurance laws within the state of Massachusetts. For this reason, the attorney for the dependent spouse needs to determine whether the obligor spouse’s insurance plan is an insured plan that is subject to the laws in Massachusetts.
If you are interested in learning more about the health insurance options available to you after a divorce, contact Infinity Law Group today. We will help you determine which health insurance option works best for you and your family following a divorce.