When going through a divorce, many people begin to pay close attention to their finances and try to cut extra spending. Whether it be for financial concerns or out of emotions, as an attorney I am often faced with the same question whether a client is going through an amicable divorce or if it has gotten ugly. All clients want to know what rights they have when it comes to health insurance and whether a party must still pay for their spouse’s health insurance costs when the parties are separated and divorcing.
Keep reading to find out.
Do I Have to Pay My Spouse’s Health Insurance If We’re Divorcing?
The quick answer is yes—if you and your spouse are on the same plan, neither party should make any changes until either an agreement is reached on when one spouse will move to a different policy or a court order is issued granting a divorce.
In a marriage, typically one spouse will carry the entire family on a health insurance policy. But when the parties go through a divorce, health insurance payments as well as when a spouse will stop having coverage are very important issues to address.
Maryland Law Regarding Health Insurance & Divorce
Maryland law allows a judge to order one party to continue payment for health insurance coverage of their spouse until a final judgment of absolute divorce is issued. Once the judgment of absolute divorce is issued, that is deemed by most health insurance companies as a qualifying event and the spouse who was being carried will no longer have coverage. Therefore, it is very important that if you are on your spouse’s health insurance policy that you do your homework and inquire into obtaining your own policy whether that be through employment or independently.
How to Avoid a Lapse in Health Insurance Coverage
Oftentimes, employers only have open enrollment once a year and therefore, I always recommend that a spouse find out when their open enrollment period is, look into the costs that they will incur by electing into that coverage and make informed decisions about the policy you need and the costs associated with the policy. Even if your employer does not have an open enrollment period, your employer should be able to give you information and you can call the provider to see when they can enroll you and the costs that will be incurred. It is also important that the spouse who was being carried call their current health care provider and inquire about whether or not they have the ability to stay on their current plan and if so for how long and any costs associated with it. This is often referred to as COBRA coverage and, though it varies by policy, most providers offer it.
Each health insurance plan operates differently, so do your homework to ensure that you do not have a lapse in coverage.
What to Do If Your Spouse Removes You from Their Policy
If your spouse does remove you from his or her current health insurance policy that you were covered under, you should contact an attorney immediately and the plan administrator to ensure your rights are protected and your coverage does not end. In Maryland, a court can require a spouse to not only reinstate a policy that they canceled but also pay for any costs incurred as a result of that cancellation. Therefore, if you carry your spouse on your health insurance plan, do not have them removed. Doing so will cause you a much larger headache than it’s worth.
Need Help with Separation or Divorce? Call Me Today!
We know that going through a divorce can be overwhelming, but every ending is a new beginning. If you need help with any aspect of the separation or divorce process, the divorce and family law attorneys at Andalman & Flynn are here to help. If you need assistance resolving your divorce in court or through alternative means of resolution, you can contact attorney Amanda Vann at 301-563-6685 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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