People in Maryland may have seen a recent article about the problem of obtaining health care coverage after a divorce. Many spouses rely on the health insurance coverage of the other spouse but following a divorce, may be left scrambling to find affordable health care coverage. In fact, about 115,000 women lose their private health insurance each year due to divorce.
Health insurance is a significant asset and one that should be considered in discussions related to alimony when going through the divorce settlement process. Spouses who have previously relied on an ex-spouse’s insurance can potentially have that amount, or a comparable amount, built into a monthly spousal support order. Some ex-spouses may be eligible for subsidies and tax credits which will potentially help make health insurance affordable, although it can potentially be argued that this should also be factored into any alimony determination.
There has been much discussion about the increasing cost and difficulty of obtaining health insurance in the U.S. today but many ex-spouses may find that the Affordable Care Act may change the landscape of health insurance, making it more affordable and accessible than before. With substantial speculation and uncertainty as to the impact of the Affordable Care Act, people who are considering a divorce should first consult with an experienced family law attorney about the possible impact of losing a spouse’s health insurance. In addition, individuals filing for divorce may wish to obtain a court order to prevent a spouse from dropping the other spouse from coverage until the divorce is finalized.
Source: Marketwatch “Obamacare could ease divorce’s financial sting,” Elizabeth O’Brien, September 25, 2013