Obamacare May Increase Health Coverage After Divorce #DivorceAttorney


Arizona law prohibits either spouse in a divorce proceeding from removing the other spouse from health insurance plans. This allows continuity of coverage during the proceeding, but once the divorce is finalized, it is typically each party’s own responsibility to provide their own insurance, and many find themselves without coverage. Naturally, this is often most difficult for an unemployed spouse, those with pre-existing conditions, and those over 50.

A 2012 study found that every year, about 115,000 women lose their health insurance after getting divorced. Many either are unemployed or are ineligible for health insurance through their employers. Even for spouses who could have COBRA benefits under an ex-spouse’s plan, many cannot afford the premiums. According to the study, approximately 25% of those women still do not have health insurance six months after divorce.

Health care exchanges established through the Affordable Care Act may remove a significant hurdle for many divorced spouses. By forcing providers to accept those with pre-existing conditions and subsidizing premiums, many uninsureds will obtain more affordable insurance. The law also affects divorced families in other ways. In Arizona, one factor in making an award of spousal maintenance (what some states call alimony) is the cost of health insurance for the spouse who is seeking the award of spousal maintenance. Thus, by allowing a spouse to obtain less expensive health coverage, it should lower the obligation of the other spouse who would be paying spousal maintenance.

Naturally, there will be disputes as to what level of health coverage is reasonable. The Affordable Care Act provides many levels of coverage from bronze to platinum. Judges currently can decide what level or cost of health insurance is reasonable, and this will likely transition to a new analysis under the “Obamacare” system.

Written by:

Published In:

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Rowley Chapman & Barney, Ltd. | Attorney Advertising

Don't miss a thing! Build a custom news brief:

Read fresh new writing on compliance, cybersecurity, Dodd-Frank, whistleblowers, social media, hiring & firing, patent reform, the NLRB, Obamacare, the SEC…

…or whatever matters the most to you. Follow authors, firms, and topics on JD Supra.

Create your news brief now - it's free and easy »


Reporters on Deadline

All the intelligence you need, in one easy email:

Great! Your first step to building an email digest of JD Supra authors and topics. Log in with LinkedIn so we can start sending your digest...

Sign up for your custom alerts now, using LinkedIn ›

* With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name.