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Obamacare and Divorce

ObamaCare and Divorce

The Impact of the Affordable Care Act on Divorcing Couples in New Hampshire

If you are divorcing in the State of New Hampshire,health insurance after the divorce may be a sticky issue in your negotiations. The good news is, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, also known as Affordable Care Act or "Obamacare," may give you some more affordable options for post-divorce health insurance coverage as of January 1, 2014.

New Hampshire currently has in place a statute that requires employers to allow ex-spouses to remain on employer-provided health insurance for up to three years post-divorce, as though they were still married. RSA458:18, VII requires that your final divorce decree must include the requirement for coverage, but that coverage will terminate when the first of the following occurs: 1) Either party remarries; 2)the employee dies; 3) the employee leaves the job; 4) three years from the divorce, or; 5) an earlier time provided for in the decree. RSA 458:18,VII does not apply to employers of less than20 people, self-insured (self-funded) employers or the State or its subdivisions (New Hampshire towns, cities and school districts). Some large employers who are self-insured include Walmart, BAE and Fidelity, which means that they are not required to comply with the statute.

The current statute leaves many former spouses with little or no viable health insurance options. COBRA is normally available, but can be cost prohibitive.

Effective January 1, 2014, the Affordable CareAct, or Obamacare, offers subsidies to individuals and families whose incomes fall between 100 and 400% of the federal poverty guidelines, to cover the cost of health insurance premiums available on a "Marketplace." The Marketplace allows people without adequate health insurance to purchase insurance through online storefronts. A key point is that, because of tax subsidies, an individual earning between$11,490 and $45,960 will pay only 2 to 9.5% of her income (including alimony)if she chooses a "silver level" plan. Those with higher incomes may select policies that cost $317-$521, depending on deductibles and co-pays.

Under Obamacare,all preventative care will be fully covered, with no co-pays. Pre-existing conditions will not exclude a person from coverage, and should not affect the cost or types of plans available to an individual. Through tax credits (subsidies), the insurance premiums will be provided on a sliding scale based on a percentage of income for individuals with low to moderate incomes who do not have employer-provided coverage available (or in some cases, no coverage available to them that is "adequate" or "affordable").

As of October 1, 2013,"navigators" will be available to help with enrollment, for coverage effective January 1, 2014. A good place to start is with the Federal website, www.healthcare.gov, or the hotline, which is already up and running,at 1-800-318-2596.

Some additional resources available include:

a. Educational programs ACA across NH,presented by AARP & staffed by

volunteers: http://states.aarp.org/aca-educational-sessions-in-a-community-near-you-2/

b. Link to calculator to estimate costs, after tax subsidies, as well

as a list of NH's ACA plans:

https://www.healthcare.gov/how-can-i-get-an-estimate-of-costs-and-savings-on

-marketplace-health-insurance/

c. List of NH institutions that can help with ACA sign-ups:

https://localhelp.healthcare.gov/

If you are going through a divorce and health insurance is a concern, contact the family law team at Martin, Lord & Osman to explore your options and rights under both State statute and new federal law.

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