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Can a spouse cancel health insurance if not legally separated

San Jose, CA |
Attorney answers 2


Unless altered by an agreement between the respective spouses, state law typically provides that each spouse is responsible to the other for:

"mutual respect and fidelity"

spousal support - providing the necessities of life including food, shelter, clothing and other basic necessities

debts incurred during the marriage (automatic joint responsibility in community property states but separate obligations possible in common law states)

distribution of the marital property - the property that was acquired during the marriage plus any separate property of the respective spouses which has been commingled is owned by both spouses

confidential relationship - there is good faith and fair dealing in all transactions between the spouses

Therefore, if your cancelled your health insurance, he is exposing you both to a great deal of expense if you need medical treatment and are uninsured.

The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change.


He can legally drop you from insurance coverage, but it is at his risk. As Mr. Baer noted, you are each responsible for the other's support, care and debts. So if you have a major illness or injury, he is financially responsible. If and when one of you files for separation or divorce, then an automatic order will go into place against cancelling any insurance until further court order. After the date of separation, he is also no longer responsible for your debts, though he may be ordered to pay spousal support. So it is possible that he knows this and cancelled the policy before filing for divorce or separation, to avoid the effect of the order. If so, however, many judges will order him to pay for insurance for you as part of a support order. Family law judges do not like people who try to play games like that.

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