The Affordable Care Act: Easing the Stress of Post-Divorce Health Insurance

By Nancy Bickford

The ending of a marriage is always hard. Of course, there’s the emotional trauma, but then there’s also many practical matters to deal with. Spouses must sort out their finances, their home, custody and visitation of children, and obtaining individual health insurance (just to name a few). The health insurance issue has historically been difficult for women, especially those who stay at home or have jobs that don’t provide insurance. According to a University of Michigan study, over 100,000 women lose their health insurance in divorces each year, yet even if they qualify for post-divorce COBRA benefits under their ex- spouse’s plan, it’s often too expensive. However, the Affordable Care Act, argues Elizabeth O’Brien in her Wall Street Journal article, might ease the stress of post-divorce health insurance issues.

Post-divorce health insurance concerns have particularly affected women involved in gray divorces (couples divorcing after the age of 50). Gray divorces are on the rise, and women in this age group often aren’t old enough to qualify for Medicare, yet they also have pre-existing conditions. Now with the government subsidies making healthcare affordable and available to anyone despite pre-existing conditions, health care costs become less of a stressful factor in divorces.

Health insurance, however, is not the only health-related matter that needs to be taken into consideration during the wake of a divorce, especially for those divorcing later in life. O’Brien’s article lists some other important factors to consider:

Insurance premiums: It’s a good idea to obtain a temporary court order at the beginning of divorce proceedings that ensures all insurance premiums get paid as usual during the proceedings. This includes health insurance, life insurance and long-term-care insurance.

Lost future caregiving:. When two parties divorce, both lose the possibility of cost-effective future caregiving by the other spouse.  This often unrealized consequence of divorce can be addressed by the parties in a Marital Settlement Agreement.

Long-term-care coverage: If a couple shares long-term-care insurance, they need to look into what happens to their coverage following a divorce. Some plans have a “shared care” rider, which allows one spouse to tap into the other’s benefit pool. If that’s the case, it’s important to drop that rider if that is consistent with the parties’ overall settlement agreement.

Power of attorney: If your ex has been named as your health-care power of attorney—the person you have appointed to make health care decisions for you when you’re no longer able— it’s important to consider whether to appoint a new power of attorney in the wake of divorce.

Sometimes we forget, in the midst of so many emotions and financial concerns, about the importance of making sure all of our post-divorce health-related needs will be met.

If you’re seeking representation in a divorce, please find me at, on Facebook or by phone at 858-793-8884.

Related posts:

  1. Senior long-term care insurance: planning ahead for elder care in San Diego
  2. Health insurance help for unemployed San Diegans
  3. Divorce Settlements: Who Gets Custody of the Pet?
  4. Opinion: What can you expect from health-care reform?
  5. Should have stuck with ‘the best health care system in the world’

Short URL:

Posted by Social Media Staff on Feb 25, 2014. Filed under Columns, Nancy Bickford, Sponsored Columns. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply



Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6






  • Horizon Prep in Rancho Santa Fe graduates from cottages to new campus building
    Horizon Prep dedicated five new grammar school classrooms on Monday, Aug. 25. Donor contributions have allowed the Rancho Santa Fe school to grow from 14 little green cottages to a school with 29 state-of-the-art classrooms and more to come. “We couldn’t be more excited about the opening of this school year,” said Dr. Bob Botsford, Horizon Prep president and […]
  • Rancho Santa Fe Republican Women to present candidates forum
    The Rancho Santa Fe Republican Women, Fed., members will present Republican candidates for federal, state and local races at their “Best Party in Town” event from 3-5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 21, at the Morgan Run Resort & Club. The candidates have been invited to speak and meet with the voters. Cost is $25; light refreshments will be served. Please send check […]
  • Rancho Santa Fe Library to present Alzheimer’s series
    Taking aim at Alzheimer’s, the county Board of Supervisors in May launched the Alzheimer’s Project, an effort to create a regional strategy to improve caregiver resources and to support research efforts to find better treatments and ultimately, a cure for the disease. […]