Estranged spouse needs Medigap plan


I am 50 and live in Maryland.  I have not lived with my spouse for over a year. He has Medicare and was previously on my health insurance. I did not renew his health insurance through my employer.  Am I able to keep him off if he has Medicare insurance?

Estranged Wife

Dear Estranged Wife,

Yes, you can drop him from your insurance.  In fact, you could have done that as soon as he got Medicare.  He will be considered to have insurance (and not pay any tax penalty under the Affordable Care Act), since he has Medicare.

Now that he doesn’t have your plan, he should get a supplemental or “Medi-Gap” plan.  This should be important to you, if you have any joint assets such as a home or retirement accounts.  Medicare does not have a cap on how much a person can spend out of his own pocket on the deductible and co-pays, and co-insurance.  Coinsurance is the 20% that Medicare does not pay.  A supplemental plan would put a limit on this for you.  Otherwise, your house and assets could go to pay medical bills.

Do this right away — there is a limited amount of time that he can buy a supplemental plan.

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.