Impacts of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) on Divorcing Couples

The most recent issue of The Pennsylvania Lawyer, a magazine published by the Pennsylvania Bar Association, has an interesting and informative article regarding the top five impacts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on Divorcing Couples. Our PA divorce lawyers deal with this situation and others on a regular basis. In the article the author, Christian Badali, lists the following impacts:

1. Access to affordable coverage for women after divorce. The author points out that many women lose their health care coverage after a divorce when they had previously been on their husband’s plan. They often go without coverage for six months or more. Now with the ACA more women should be able to get affordable health care.

2. Divorcing spouses with pre-existing conditions. Both women and men with pre-existing conditions who were previously covered under a spouse’s plan often found it almost impossible to obtain health care after a divorce if they had a pre-existing condition. Now under the ACA health care will be available at an affordable cost even for those people with pre-existing conditions who previously may have been reluctant to divorce due to the lack of availability of health care or the high cost.

3. Family health care coverage. As with adults, children cannot be excluded from health care due to a pre-existing condition under the ACA. In addition, a parent is allowed to keep a child covered under his/her employer provided health care until the child reaches the age of 26. This will allow children to be covered after college while they are looking for a job or while they work at an entry level job that does not offer health insurance.

4. Impact on Alimony calculation. One of the major issues in settling a divorce is often the calculation of alimony when the cost of health care for the dependent spouse is high or unpredictable. With lower and more predicable health care costs under the ACA the issue may be more easily resolved. However, the author points out that because there are three levels of health care coverage available under the ACA (gold, silver and bronze) there still may be conflicts regarding what level of health care the payor spouse should provide.

5. Federal subsidies for health care. Spouses may be eligible for a subsidy to purchase health insurance if health care is not provided for by their employer. A former spouse that has an income that falls into a certain range may be eligible to obtain a subsidy for the cost of purchasing their own health care to cover themselves and their children.

For more information on this topic or any other topic related to issues of divorce, custody, support or family mediation services and resolution in general, please contact Kris Smull or call (800) 615-0115.

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