Will the Affordable Care Act Lead to More Chicago Divorces?

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Affordable Care Act”), a.k.a. “Obamacare” was signed into law by President Obama in 2010. Many of the provisions are now coming into effect. One of the key features of the Affordable Care Act is the change which bars insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions or past health history. Before this provision came into effect, many people facing divorce in Chicago or elsewhere in Illinois had a valid concern that they would be unable to obtain health insurance coverage for themselves after the divorce. Without insurance, many people with health conditions could not obtain necessary medical care and medication. Oftentimes a spouse was covered by his or spouse’s workplace health insurance plan during the marriage. After the divorce, the spouse could either continue health insurance coverage through COBRA or if he or she lived in Illinois, SHIRA. However, the cost of COBRA and SHIRA could be too expensive for some divorced spouses. Plus, coverage under COBRA and SHIRA generally expires after a relatively short period of time. After the coverage period for COBRA or SHIRA ran out, depending on the divorced spouse’s age and health, he or she could have faced great difficulty obtaining another health insurance plan before the Affordable Care Act came into effect. Some people stayed married when they would have otherwise sought a divorce in order to maintain their health insurance coverage provided by their spouse’s employer. Large employers provide health insurance options without the requirement of a medical review. Some people have chronic health conditions or a past medical history that rendered them them unable to obtain health insurance outside of a large employer. An unemployed person or a person whose employer does not provide health insurance may have needed his or her spouse’s insurance for necessary medication and on-going medical treatment. Now that health insurance companies are not permitted to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions or a present illness, these people may be more willing to seek a divorce than in years past because they can purchase insurance through the insurance marketplace. It is important to think about what life will be like after divorce, including the source of medical insurance and the expected cost of coverage. A good family law attorney can help you determine your financial needs post-divorce and plan your case strategy accordingly.

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If you are looking for legal advice and representation with an Illinois divorce, schedule a consultation with experienced Chicago divorce attorney, Tanya Witt, at (312) 500-5400 or info@thewittlawfirm.com.

Representing men and women in Chicago divorce and child custody cases.

This blog does not constitute legal advice. Please consult with an attorney regarding your specific case.