Ethical dilemma: Whose money is this? Ours? The employers?

My partner and I are interested in other people’s opinions about a bit of an ethical dilemma we’ll likely be facing shortly (partly because we don’t agree with each other)

Our private health insurance company* (a mutual fund) is almost certainly going to be taken over by another company. As a result, all policy holders will receive a sum of money, since the purchasing company is a private company and we will no longer be in a mutual fund. The policy won’t be changing, so from our perspective the only change will be the name on the yearly bill and being given a sum of ‘free’ money.

As part of my partner’s compensation package, his employer reimburses us for the health insurance. They do not pay the insurer directly, we pay and then submit an expenses claim form.

So, who does this ‘free’ sum of money belong to? Us, or my partner’s employer?

Some things we’ve been thinking about and are unsure if they make any difference to the issue:
Does the amount of this unexpected sum make any difference?
The fact that we’d have health insurance anyway (since there are tax benefits)?
The fact that we would have a different policy (a cheaper one, and probably not with this company) if the employer did not reimburse us for it?
The fact that we didn’t have health insurance with this company before my partner was promoted to the level that receives this perk?
The fact that if my partner was to leave the company shortly after renewing the policy, we would need to pay the company back (or at least a portion of it back)?

*I’m Australian, so our health system, and private health insurance system is completely different to the US. I’m happy to answer any questions (to the best of my ability) about how it works here.

Who is the policyholder? You and your partner? And your employer reimburses you for the cost of the policy?

My first thought is it is your money. You own the policy and as such are the recipient of whatever happens with the business changing hands.

If for some reason your premium was changed during the year and you got a refund, I would say that should be applied against your expense claim to your employer, but this lump sum seems like a separate deal altogether.

If you keep the money, is there someone who could legally contest it? Then it’s your money.

The money paid in was part of a compensation package. It was negotiated in lieu of higher salary. It belongs to you.

The policy holder is us. Yes, the employer reimburses us for the cost, once we submit the receipt and claim form.
Thanks for the response gigi. I agree with you about if the premium changed.

Realistically, no. After the formal part of his yearly review when he received the new package, his boss informally gave him some info about it, and it was in that environment his boss mentioned that if he submitted the expenses form a week before resigning, he’d be expected to pay it back, but his boss also admitted that there was no written policy about it. So I’m guessing if they don’t even have a written policy for that circumstance, there’d be no way to legally prove this sum belongs to the employer.
I guess we’re more concerned about the ethics and how it will be viewed by the employer, than what the legally right answer is. I mean, sure, he probably could resign and not pay it back, but that would cost more (in loss of references, networking, goodwill, etc) than paying the money back would, so the fact that there’s no written policy about payback after resigning (or about the situation we’re discussing) isn’t what concerns us. The employer is a very, very good one, who treats their employees very well.
The amount is approx. AUD 1200, so it’s not a small amount. On the other hand, it’s not big enough to be worth engendering any ill-will if the employer views it as there money. There’s around 20 other people who are at the level to receive this perk, so it’s pretty unlikely that someone else would be with the same insurance fund, though not impossible.

My partner was very taken by your words. I think you may have convinced him that the money is ours. But he’s still concerned that it will ‘look bad’ if it is discovered later.
My partner is still a little unsure because he gets the feeling that if he asked his boss about it, the answer would be different, depending on what day he asked!

So if I understand the deal correctly, y’all bought an insurance policy, and the employer agreed to reimburse you for the cost of that policy, right?

You could have picked any policy you wanted, from any company?

You chose the company, and were bound by the terms of that particular policy. If it didn’t cover all or part of a bill, you’d have to pay it, not the employer.

I’d say the money is yours.