Divorce – still covering ex-spouse

As part of my divorce settlement, I have to provide my ex-wife’s health insurance for three years.  Can I just leave her on my plan from work?

Single in Massachusetts

Dear Single in Massachusetts,

In any state, as soon as the divorce is legally final, the ex-wife does not qualify to be covered as a spouse. She could continue on the plan under COBRA for 36 months – or three years.  Her attorney likely chose the three years, knowing that COBRA would last for that long.

The bummer is that you cannot pay for COBRA as a pre-tax payroll deduction.  Talk with your attorney about making the cost of the COBRA coverage part of alimony.  That will help you on your taxes: you can deduct alimony payments, if you itemize your deductions.

Linda Riddell

About Linda Riddell

A published author and health policy analyst with 25 years’ experience, Linda Riddell's goal is to alleviate the widespread ailment of not knowing what your health plan can do for you.