Affordable Health Care Act and Divorce

Insurance PolicyThe Affordable Care Act has a lot of detractors but I as a Divorce attorney am not one of them.  One of our most painful issues going forward has been what to do with folks whose employers do not offer health insurance or with stay-at-home parents who do not have health care coverage.  The Affordable Care Act now offers a way to remain on insurance but under costs that make sense.  In Minnesota, many people are seeing that their insurance costs are dropping, while others are not.  However, when health insurance can cost a newly divorced individual between $600 and up to $1200 or more per month, the  Affordable Care Act provides a viable option.  Implementation has been neither perfect nor even satisfactory; our own firm ran into a myriad of problems in implementing the new program.  However, for spousal maintenance recipients and responsible parties alike, it is a relief that the cost of health insurance for Minnesotans can actually be reasonable.

Minnesota Statutes Section 518.552 covers spousal maintenance.   One of the issues surrounding the award of spousal maintenance are the standard of living enjoyed during a marriage; if both parties were covered under a spouse’s medical insurance, then it is reasonable that medical insurance expenses should be included in a spousal maintenance award consideration.  Therefore, a spousal maintenance responsible party could end up paying a higher amount for spousal maintenance because of the high cost to the spouse of maintaining health insurance.  If, instead of costing $600 or more per month, health insurance will cost $100 per month, the non employee spouse has lower anticipated expenses and therefore the employee spouse has a lower maintenance award risk.

Health insurance under the Affordable Care Act for Minnesota residents is found at