Texas readers may be interested to learn about how the Affordable Care Act seems to be simplifying the divorce process around the country. According to an attorney at a Philadelphia firm that works in family law, the legislation is lessening many clients’ reluctance to pursue a divorce out of fear of losing the insurance coverage provided through a spouse’s employer. In cases where the client was older and depended on the insurance for their own health and well-being, some clients were previously more inclined to remain in their marriage rather than risk losing the ability to procure medical treatment. Now, this concern may be slowly beginning to diminish.
Before the ACA, attorneys often bartered with health insurance as though it were any other marital good such as spousal support or access to a retirement account. This practice often resulted in cases such as one related by the attorney, where she claims that a man secured an agreement from his ex-wife to continue providing him with insurance coverage for at least eight years. In order to reach that agreement, she says that he was forced to make some rather significant financial concessions of his own.
The bartering process described by the attorney is common in divorce situations where the boundaries of ownership are somewhat ambiguous. Over the course of time, property that was once solely owned can become marital property if both parties have at some point contributed to the asset’s maintenance.
The marketplaces provided under the Affordable Care Act may not be providing alternatives to health care coverage that heretofore may only have been available to some divorced spouses under COBRA. The premiums for COBRA coverage usually are equal to the employer’s cost plus a fee of up to two percent, and coverage only lasts for a maximum of 36 months .
Source: Philly.com, “Insurance no longer may hinder divorce“, Robert Calandra, March 03, 2014