Divorce and the Affordable Care Act

 Posted on November 06, 2014 in Divorce

medical insurance, federal law, Illinois divorce attorney, One of the most important pieces of legislation passed in the last few years is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, sometimes referred to as Obamacare. This legislation revamped the American healthcare system in a variety of ways. Many of these changes have important ramifications regarding divorce and the Affordable Care Act. For instance, the Act subsidizes healthcare premiums for certain individuals based on their income level, but the particular income level changes based on whether a person is married or single. Additionally, some people fear filing for divorce because they rely on their spouse's health insurance. The law provides other options to people looking for health coverage.

The Open Enrollment Period

The Affordable Care Act created insurance exchanges that allow people to sign up for health insurance policies. To take advantage of these marketplaces, a person has to sign up during the open enrollment period. The next open enrollment period, which is good for coverage beginning in 2015, runs from November 15th, 2014 to February 15th, 2015. One of the main benefits of these exchanges is that people can qualify for subsidies and tax credits to reduce the cost of their health insurance. These subsidies are based on income level, and the requisite income level changes based on a person's tax filing status, whether they are single, married, or head of household. Because a person's eligibility for cheaper healthcare changes depending on their marital status, it may benefit people who are considering both getting a divorce and getting health insurance to coordinate their divorce so that they can try to qualify for better subsidies on the exchanges by getting a divorce before the end of the next open enrollment period.

Healthcare Alternatives

Another important effect of divorce and the Affordable Care Act is the ability for people without jobs and people with preexisting conditions to purchase health insurance. Prior to the Affordable Care Act, most people with private insurance received it through their employers or through their spouse's employers. This left many people in the difficult situation of having to lose health insurance if they wanted to file for divorce, and that choice was even more difficult for people with preexisting conditions because it was even less likely that they would be able to get a new insurance plan. The healthcare exchanges make it possible for people to purchase their own insurance without needing to rely on employment, and the Act also makes it illegal for an insurance company to reject someone because of a preexisting condition. These changes remove an obstacle that many people considering a divorce were facing.

If you would like to file for divorce and want to know more about your options, contact an experienced Wheaton divorce attorney today. Our firm is here to help you understand your rights and make the best decision for you.
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