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Indiana Supreme Court: Health Insurance Benefits Considered Marital Asset
Posted in Estate Planning

This week, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled that guaranteed future health insurance coverage, offered by an employer to its retired employees, is a marital asset in a divorce, making these benefits subject to valuation and allocation by a divorce court in the overall division of the marital estate.

In the case of Anne M. Bingley v. Charles B. Bingley, Charles Bingley’s retirement benefit package included guaranteed post-retirement health insurance coverage, paid by his former employer. Two lower courts had previously determined such benefits were not marital assets. What will this mean for divorces in Indiana? This is a fairly unusual retirement benefit, so most divorces will not be affected by this ruling. However, some people – particularly members of the military, or retirees from certain companies with generous retirement plans – will be affected, and potentially substantially. Health insurance coverage is notoriously expensive. Therefore, employer provided coverage is extremely valuable to the recipient. The present value of years, or even decades, of health insurance coverage could be the most valuable asset of the marriage in some cases, worth more than the parties’ home.  In addition, this decision may open the door for similar, non-monetary retirement benefits – such as an automobile worker’s right to car discounts, or an airline employee’s right to discounted flights – to be subject to inclusion as marital assets, as well. For more information about marital assets, contact the Estate Planning Practice Group or the Litigation Group at Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP.

To learn more about Michael Kohlhaas and his practice, please visit his profile.

  • Partner

    Mike is a partner in Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP’s Estate Planning Department. The Estate Planning Department seamlessly coordinates and executes a wide array of legal services that cater to the unique needs of high ...

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