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Could the Affordable Care Act lead to fewer divorce battles?

Posted on October 9, 2013 in the Property Division category.

The government shutdown continues over the standoff concerning the funding of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). The Act was supposed to take effect on October 1, 2013, which marks the start of the federal government’s fiscal year. However, opponents of the law have ostensibly refused to fund it, which has led to an impasse. The shutdown has affected a number of federal employees, contractors and tourists.

Whenever an accord is reached in Congress or the Act becomes actionable, it is believed that millions of Americans who would not otherwise be able to afford coverage will do so. Also, there are many in the financial planning arena who believe that the new health care law will spur a new wave of divorces.

Why is this? The explanation is simple.

During the last recession, many disgruntled couples remained separated, but did not decide to divorce because of the possibility of losing critical insurance benefits. This line of thinking falls in line with couples who stayed in the same home because they could not afford to move to separate homes, as well as those who filed for bankruptcy before filing for divorce.

With the implication of the Affordable Care Act looming, divorcing couples will have the option to look for health insurance that will enable them to have much of the same coverage without the expense of COBRA, which was notoriously expensive compared to traditional plans.

It remains to be seen whether the new choice in health care coverage will lead to fewer battles between divorcees.

Source: Financial-planning.com, “Divorce wave to follow Obamacare rollout?“, September 30, 2013