Health Insurance

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Health Insurance

Unread postby Snowblower » Mon Jan 08, 2018 3:57 pm

She filed in August last year and asked for provisional orders, dueces tecum and a hearing. The hearing was vacated. Technically I never signed anything other than being served. In October when I signed up for benefits I took her off of medical coverage for 2018 and left the kids on. I honestly thought we would have been done and it would not be an issue. A couple of weeks ago we signed a stipulation to those provisional orders in regards to parenting time, houses, vehicles, finances and beneficiaries but nothing about medical. So there is nothing in the paperwork that says I cannot take her off and my company says I need a court order to put her back on. I am already paying temporary SS in which I do not believe her healthcare was factored in.

My plan might be that if she wants back on that insurance I will tell her that I need a court order that she can have her attorney prepare or is this something I missed and just have to do? This might be a good time for me to renegotiate CS and SS since I think we could have done better. Thoughts?
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Re: Health Insurance

Unread postby lionel2013 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:03 pm

My plan might be that if she wants back on that insurance I will tell her that I need a court order that she can have her attorney prepare or is this something I missed and just have to do? This might be a good time for me to renegotiate CS and SS since I think we could have done better. Thoughts?


That's right [almost]. You will tell her she will need a court order for you to add her back on - the problem is she might actually get it because during TOs judges try to maintain the status quo, so if you had been paying her for her medical insurance before papers were filed, the judge might consider that and amend the TOs, or issue a separate order addressing that.

As far as using that as leverage: I doubt it when it comes to CS, maybe when it comes to SS.
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Re: Health Insurance

Unread postby TJinCA » Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:03 pm

Check the original divorce petition closely - these often include automatic temporary restraining orders (ATROs) that may prohibit, among other things, changing insurance while the divorce is pending. Or if you're working with an attorney ask them if your state has these orders and if they include health insurance benefits.

If you are subject to an ATRO that prohibits taking her off your insurance, then you screwed up and you should take the responsibility (and bear the expense) to get a court order so you can reinstate her.

If not, then I think you could either tell her to pack sand, or you could tell her that if she wants to get a court order written up at her expense and reimburse you monthly for any increased premiums (and pay her own deductibles and out-of-pocket) you'll take the order to your company and get her put back on.

It should be better tax-wise if you have her reimburse you for expenses rather than seek a reduction in spousal support - at this point spousal support is still deductible for you, so basically she would be paying the tax on the money she reimburses you. If you reduce support you reduce your deductible amount.
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Re: Health Insurance

Unread postby Snowblower » Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:24 pm

Thanks guys, good info.

The original provisional (requested) petition had this in it however it was vacated. I never signed anything. The dissolution petition itself is so vague it has nothing in it in regards to restraining orders.

There is a restraining order but it is worded differently which is the reason my company said this would not work.

Here is the wording.
"Temporary Financial Restraining Order. Each party shall be restrained from transferring, encumbering, concealing, selling or otherwise disposing of any joint property of the parties or assets, including changing any of the beneficiary designations of the marriage except in the usual course of the business or for the necessiities of life."

I think OC screwed up maybe? Should have caught this?
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Re: Health Insurance

Unread postby TJinCA » Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:38 pm

Snowblower wrote:
Here is the wording.
"Temporary Financial Restraining Order. Each party shall be restrained from transferring, encumbering, concealing, selling or otherwise disposing of any joint property of the parties or assets, including changing any of the beneficiary designations of the marriage except in the usual course of the business or for the necessiities of life."

I think OC screwed up maybe? Should have caught this?


I could (and probably would if I were OC and might if I were the judge) interpret that as prohibiting you from changing the beneficiaries of your health insurance plan. So it seems likely to me that you could be found to have violated the order by taking her off without her concurrence (and especially if you did it without notifying her of your intention - you didn't do that, did you?).

But having taken her off, the wording in the TO is probably not enough for your company and health care provider to put her back on outside of open enrollment. It's probably a fairly simple thing to submit a stipulation to the court that you are to provide her with health care benefits - once the judge signs that it's a court order. Probably a good idea to check with your company HR to make sure you have all the wording they need so you get it right on the first try.

This could still be an opening to ask her to reimburse you for the additional cost, but I don't know that you have much leverage in that negotiation.
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Re: Health Insurance

Unread postby lionel2013 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:42 pm

It should be better tax-wise if you have her reimburse you for expenses rather than seek a reduction in spousal support - at this point spousal support is still deductible for you, so basically she would be paying the tax on the money she reimburses you. If you reduce support you reduce your deductible amount.


Tax implications: if medical coverage for her is through his employer, that too would be tax deductible, hence a wash when it comes to $$ for him.

The paragraph he quoted about not changing anything, including "beneficiary designations", applies to things like pension, 401k, life insurance policy. It does not specifically state anything about medical insurance where it's more than about beneficiaries, it's about dependents.

It would appear he'd be better off getting her to agree to a reduction in SS in exchange for continued medical coverage, but as we all know health insurance premiums go up every year so he may end up spending quite a bit more than he bargained for in a few years ... Tough one to figure out.

Nevertheless, as is I don't think he's obligated to keep on covering her. If I were him I'd just let her go for it and try to get a judge to order it.
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Re: Health Insurance

Unread postby TJinCA » Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:50 pm

lionel2013 wrote:
It should be better tax-wise if you have her reimburse you for expenses rather than seek a reduction in spousal support - at this point spousal support is still deductible for you, so basically she would be paying the tax on the money she reimburses you. If you reduce support you reduce your deductible amount.


Tax implications: if medical coverage for her is through his employer, that too would be tax deductible, hence a wash when it comes to $$ for him.



I think that would actually make it better for him:

- Spousal support paid = deduction to him, taxable to STBX

- Health benefit premium (including amount for wife's coverage) = deduction to him

- Money reimbursed by STBX to cover her health care premium = NOT reportable income to him. Maybe deductible as a medical expense to STBX, but who cares?
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Re: Health Insurance

Unread postby afc » Mon Jan 08, 2018 5:52 pm

Spousal support will no longer be deductable
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Re: Health Insurance

Unread postby TJinCA » Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:17 pm

afc wrote:Spousal support will no longer be deductable


I believe that's true only if your original order is entered after Dec 31, 2018. SS under existing orders or future mods to them should remain deductible to the payer.

Which only makes sense since those were the circumstances under which those orders were originally determined. For new orders the lack of deductiblity to the payer should be a consideration in setting the amount.
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Re: Health Insurance

Unread postby lionel2013 » Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:26 pm

Snowblower, are you an Illinois resident?
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