The Affordable Care Act is changing the way some people in New Jersey work through a divorce settlement and negotiate the end of a marriage. For example, during 2013, a couple could jointly earn too much to qualify for ACA credits. However, if the couple divorces the next year, one of them could possibly qualify if they don’t have much income because qualifying for credits is based on their own income, which can be as high as $45,960. The application process requires people to estimate how much they will earn in a year. If they earn significantly more than the projected amount, they could need to pay back some of the credits.
Some groups of people were nearly impossible to insure, such as those who had been out of the work force for a long time, those with preexisting conditions or some baby boomers. Even if they could find private coverage, they needed to pay outrageous fees, and the insurer could cancel the plan at any time. A lack of insurance meant that some people stayed married just to stay insured.
Previously, health insurance was a significant part of the negotiations for couples during a divorce settlement. ACA eligibility for all Americans means that is no longer the case, so couples no longer use insurance as a bargaining tool. COBRA, which covers people for three years, might be an option in some cases, but individuals in these situations have the option of comparing plans to determine what works best for them.
A person without health insurance was formerly at a disadvantage during a divorce settlement. A family lawyer might be able to help clients as they work out the division of assets when a marriage ends as well as answer questions about issues such as maintaining insurance after divorce.
Source: NPR, How A Divorce Can Boost Health Insurance Subsidies, Michelle Andrews, Jan. 28, 2014
Source: Philly.com, “Insurance no longer may hinder divorce“, Robert Calandra, March 03, 2014