Can a spouse be removed from health insurance before the divorce is final?

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Can a spouse be removed from health insurance before the divorce is final?

My wife filed for divorce and I agreed to keep her on health insurance for 2 months while she procured her own. After 6 months of keeping her on, I finally removed her, and she fought it with my benefits department. They awarded her the case and placed her back on my health insurance and have been charging me retroactively for 4 months now. They awarded her health insurance up to and through the divorce date, giving her insurance 1 full month even after the divorce. Was I not legally allowed to remove her?

Asked on July 25, 2011 Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You can't remove her in the middle of a plan or policy year, not unless and until the divorce goes through...that's because until the divorce happens, there was no "life event" justifying or allowing a change in coverage. They may have needed to include her for a month after depending on how the date(s) fell out, to make absolutely sure she was covered through the divorce. There is no discretion to HR in this--they cannot make a change to a policy during the plan year, unless certain defined life changes occur. Once the divorce is definitely final, on the other hand, not only may you remove her, but you *must* remove her--you cannot cover a non-spouse with your health insurance.


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