ALIMONY

HEALTH INSURANCE AFTER DIVORCE

Direct payment of a former spouse’s health insurance normally is not part of an alimony agreement or order, although the recipient certainly may wish to use some of the alimony payments to purchase health insurance if the recipient is not already covered. 

When a couple divorces, the health insurance policy covering the family (if there was such a policy) no longer covers both spouses. The policy covers only the spouse who had insurance through work or through an individual policy. Children who were covered under a family policy generally are still covered under the policy after a divorce. 

A federal law passed in the 1980s requires most employer sponsored group health plans to offer divorced spouses of covered workers continued coverage at group rates for as long as three years after the divorce. The divorced spouse of a worker must pay for the coverage, but the coverage is available. 

HOW TO USE LIFE INSURANCE TO GUARANTEE ALIMONY

The recipient of alimony may wish to seek an agreement or court order to guarantee support in the event of the payor’s death. The usual method of guaranteeing support is to require the payor to maintain an insurance policy on his or her own life with the recipient as beneficiary. The amount of the policy should be high enough to compensate for the loss of alimony payments. 

In order to ensure that the insurance policy remains in effect, the recipient may seek to require the payor to provide periodic proof that the policy is still in force. This could be accomplished by having the payor provide an annual copy of the policy showing full payment of premiums for the coming year. The recipient also may seek to have a provision in the policy that would require the insurance company to notify the recipient in the event that payments are not made on time.