Health insurance battle leads to delayed divorce plans

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Family Law on Monday, July 31, 2017.

Many Missouri residents likely remember what the health care industry was like prior to the introduction of the Affordable Care Act. Those who were not married or otherwise part of an employer plan often faced high premiums and the possibility of being denied coverage for having a pre-existing condition. Republicans in Congress are looking at ways to repeal the ACA and replace it with a new plan.

However, various versions of the bill will likely allow insurance companies to offer plans that provide less coverage. This is because the legislation lets states narrow the list of required services that must be provided. The uncertainty of what type of coverage an individual may qualify for in the future has led some to put off getting divorced. Instead, some have chosen to draft divorce papers but not sign them.

Typically, those who get divorced are entitled to get their health benefits through COBRA for three years. One attorney estimated that deductibles for a benchmark plan under the Better Care Reconciliation Act would be more than $10,000 come 2026. This is important because this and other health insurance costs help to determine how much alimony a person may be entitled to.

How a couple decides how to handle matters related to alimony may depend on any agreements made prior to a divorce. It may be possible to include language in a prenuptial agreement that provides for an individual’s health insurance costs and other related expenses. In other cases, couples could make plans to divide marital property and draw up divorce papers with an agreement to delay signing them for a predetermined period.

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