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One major concern when going through a separation is whether your spouse can drop you from their health insurance coverage during your separation. It’s most likely that your spouse will not be able to drop you from their policy until after the divorce is finalized, but this isn’t always the case. There are multiple factors that can come into play in this situation.
The Health Insurance Policy and Provider
The first factor in this situation is the health insurance policy your spouse has and the provider. Every provider has its own rules regarding how it handles separations. Even though it’s your spouse who is technically paying for the policy and therefore the policyholder, you are both listed on the plan, and the provider may not be able to take you off without your consent or proof that you and your spouse are divorced. In that case, your spouse wouldn’t be able to drop you and would instead need to wait for the divorce process to finish.
However, there are also providers who look at separation the same way as a divorce, which means if your spouse tells their provider that you two are separated, they can get you removed from the plan. If you want to avoid this, you would need to go to the court to prevent your spouse from dropping you.
The Court Handling Your Divorce
The court that is handling your divorce also plays a role in whether you get to keep your health insurance during the separation process. If the court decides that you should keep your health insurance plan, it can put in temporary orders that require your spouse to keep you on their policy until you two are divorced.
If you get this temporary order and your spouse has you dropped from their plan anyway, you can notify the court that your spouse violated temporary orders. The court will then tell your spouse to put you back on the insurance policy immediately. If you had any costs due to being removed from the policy, such as out-of-pocket medical expenses you had to pay, then your spouse will also need to reimburse you for those.
Whether the court will grant a temporary order like this depends on the law in your state. Many states, including New York, have what’s called a Doctrine of Necessaries, which means spouses are responsible for each other’s medical bills. Because of this, courts in these states will often require that a spouse doesn’t drop their partner from their policy during a separation.
What Happens After the Divorce?
Your health insurance coverage after your divorce is finalized will depend on what the court rules. If the court requires your spouse to pay for your health insurance, your spouse may have the option of keeping you on their plan or paying a certain amount per month as alimony for your health insurance premiums on a new plan. In that case, that amount would be added to any existing alimony that your spouse needs to pay.
It’s more likely that your spouse pays you a certain amount per month and you must find your own health insurance plan, because often providers won’t let spouses keep divorced ex-partners on their policies.
Going through a separation and a divorce can be a difficult time, and you don’t want to lose your health insurance coverage out of nowhere. It’s smart to consult with an experienced divorce lawyer who can guide you through the entire process and let you know what to expect.
Your lawyer will understand the divorce laws in your area, including those regarding health insurance policies. If you have the right to stay on your spouse’s health insurance during the separation, your lawyer will make sure that you’re kept on and can fight for your spousal support once the divorce is finalized.