Beginning January 1, 2014, the divorced spouse of a state employee will no longer be allowed to remain on the state employee's health insurance.
For many years, when an employee with health insurance divorced a spouse, the spouse could remain on the health insurance family plan without any additional cost. Rhode Island has a Health Insurance Continuation Act, which in many cases encouraged the maintaining of the spouse on the health insurance coverage.
Over the past few years as health insurance costs skyrocketed, employers who are covered by ERISA (federal legislation) began ending this practice and forcing the spouse to either pay for expensive COBRA coverage or be removed from the coverage. This was done to reduce the costs to employers.
The Rhode Island Legislature recently passed a law that covers state employees. If a divorce is not final by December 31, 2013, the spouse of a state employee will not be able to remain on the medical and dental health coverage.
The spouse will need to find his or her own health insurance or have no health insurance. A spouse who works part time and is not eligible for health insurance may now have to seek alimony in order to be able to buy some type of health insurance.
There may also be a move by the State of Rhode Island to be sure that those divorced spouses who are presently covered under the health insurance plans of state employees continue to meet all pertinent requirements, including that they nor their divorced spouse have remarried and that the divorced spouse is not eligible for health insurance at his or her place of employment.