Massachusetts Health Insurance Law For Employers
Rhode Island Has enacted the Rhode Island Health Insurance Continuation act. This act allows a person to remain on their ex-husband or ex-wives health Insurance after Final Judgment of Divorce.
Unfortunately, this act has been watered down by recent case law out of the Federal Court District of Rhode Island. The case of Duclos v. General Dynamics Corp., 12 E.B.C. (BNA) 2648 (D.R.I. 1990) stands for the proposition that The Rhode Island health Insurance Continuation act is Preempted by ERISA. ERISA is a Federal Statute. Under Common Law, if a federal statute and state statute relate to similar topics, Federal Law may preempt state law. The Federal Preemption Doctrine is “a doctrine in law that allows a federal law to take precedence over or to displace a state law in certain matters of national importance (as interstate commerce)” Dictionary.com
Duclos v. General Dynamics Corp., 12 E.B.C. (BNA) 2648 (D.R.I. 1990) ruled that the “Rhode Island statute requiring certain divorced spouses to be granted continuation health coverage without additional premiums was preempted by ERISA…” Quoted from Charles Shulman, Esq. “EBEC (Employee Benefits / Executive Compensation) Law Update”
Despite the Duclos ruling, many Rhode Island Employers allow an ex spouse to remain on health insurance coverage after Final Judgment of Divorce. Many employers are prohibiting ex spouses from coverage after final Judgment of Divorce relying on the Duclos case. My Understanding is that Blue Cross Blueshield of Rhode Island allows an ex spouse to remain on health insurance after Final Judgment of Divorce.
During the pendency of the divorce, the parties should determine the employers policy and procedures related to continuation of coverage after Final Judgment of Divorce. If possible, they should seek the company policy in writing from the Companies benefits administrator. The Obligations of Rhode Island based companies to comply with the Rhode Island Insurance Continuation Act is beyond the scope of this Article. Check Internet #1 Massachusetts Health Insurance Law right now!
If a spouse will be remaining on his or her ex spouse’s insurance then the following language should and must be put on the record at the Rhode Island Nominal Divorce Hearing and be memorialized into the Decision Pending Entry of Final Judgment as well as the Final Judgment of Divorce:
“Plaintiff shall provide Defendant with Insurance and Dental Insurance pursuant to the Rhode Island Insurance Continuation Act.”
This language should be put on the record and memorialized into the Decision Pending and Final Judgment of Divorce even if the employer will be removing the spouse after Final Judgment of Divorce!
The above described language incorporated into the Final Judgment of Divorce is usually interpreted by Judges of The Rhode Island Family Court as meaning the following:
1) If there is an additional expense over and above the cost of a single plan for the ex spouse to remain covered by the insurance plan then the ex spouse must pay that additional amount or he / she may be removed from the Health Insurance policy.
2) If the person with Health Insurance loses their job, or goes to another employer then the ex spouse will probably lose health Insurance coverage.
3) If either party (husband or wife) remarries than the ex spouse may lose Health Insurance coverage.
It is usually a good idea to specifically put on the record at the nominal divorce hearing, that the ex spouse is required to pay any additional premium over and above the cost of a Single Plan or they will be removed from the insurance. These issues can get confusing if the cost for a family plan includes the children and there is no additional expense for the spouse. Please consult with a Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer about these issues. Check Internet #1 Massachusetts Health Insurance Law right now!
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