One of the major issues couples face when they are ending their marriage is continuation of health insurance coverage. People who receive coverage through their spouse’s employer worry that they will lose that coverage when the marriage ends. While the federal Affordable Care Act has improved access, insurance purchased privately remains expensive.
Wisconsin law and practice on this issue have changed in recent years; as a result, misconceptions abound.
Years ago, most employer-provided health insurance policies provided for termination of a spouse’s coverage upon divorce, but made no mention of legal separation. Since legal separation is identical in most relevant respects to divorce (see Divorce and Legal Separation), many couples retained health insurance for both spouses by opting for legal separation instead of divorce.