If I’ve been separated from my wife for the last 3 years, can I remove her from medical insurance?

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If I’ve been separated from my wife for the last 3 years, can I remove her from medical insurance?

My state does not have a statute for legal separation but I no longer want to provide my spouse with medical coverage.

Asked on June 27, 2012 under Family Law, New Jersey

Answers:

Cameron Norris, Esq. / Law Office of Gary W. Norris

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Washington state is a community property state.  As long as you are married you are liable for your wife's debts, including her medical insurance whether or not she is on your policy.  You could remove her from your medical insurance, but she could just take out another policy and you would be "on the hook" for paying that and any other medical bills your wife incurrs.  In addition, Washington state has fiduciary duty requirements--so you have a duty to your spouse to act in her best interest--and it is unclear to me whether or not taking her off your insurance would be a violation of that duty or not.

If you take her off your insurance, she will probably go get a more expensive separate policy and you will be responsible for that and any other bills if she doesn't pay them. 

It sounds like its time to get divorced, unless after a three year separation you are still trying to work this out.  Best of luck.


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