Obamacare Could Impact Divorce Rates

How Obamacare Could Impact Divorce Rates

For many unhappy couples, divorce is simply not an option because it is much too expensive for individuals to live on their own. This is especially true for those couples who receive insurance benefits through their spouse.   Without appropriate assistance, each person’s unhappy relationship is still viewed as a sanctuary within the uncertainty of increasing health care costs.

A study done by the University of Michigan in 2012 revealed that each year, 115,000 women lose their health insurance benefits after getting divorced. Even in situations where women can still qualify for health insurance through their ex-husband’s insurance plan, they may not be able to afford it because of the expensive premiums.

Many couples who have contemplated divorce decide to stay together for years primarily because of insurance. Older couples may push off divorce until their spouse qualifies for Medicare.  Other couples may simply stay together until one spouse can adequately provide for their own insurance.

The Affordable Care Act could make it much easier for divorcing couples to obtain insurance on their own, eliminating the need to rely on a spouse for future coverage and extinguishing the desire to remain in an unhappy situation.  The fact that individuals may obtain healthcare coverage on their own could be the final push that ends these unfortunate circumstances.

In addition, the implementation of the Affordable Care Act could likely affect the necessity of spousal support, and exactly how much is needed to cover an ex-spouse’s living expenses. With health insurance becoming more affordable and available, it could decrease the amount of money a spouse needs to pay to cover these expenses. In other words, the Affordable Care Act could decrease the overall cost of getting a divorce, which, in turn, could increase the number of couples who file for divorce each year.

While it is too soon to tell if Obamacare will have a significant impact on divorce, many experts in the field of family law believe it is very likely. If you are considering divorce and have questions regarding healthcare benefits post-marriage, spousal support, or child custody, you may want to consult with a family law attorney in your area so that you may better inform yourself of the benefits and consequences of such a proceeding.

Author- Shannon O’Connor

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