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Obamacare (Affordable Care Act) and Divorce in Colorado

By James S. Margulis, Esq.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/obamacare-winners-the-recently-divorced-2013-09-25

As the above article illustrates, there will be significant changes with regard to health insurance and its accessibility for divorced spouses as a result of the Affordable Care Act which becomes effective on January 1, 2014.

In Colorado, whenever a divorce is filed, an automatic injunction goes into effect, which among other things, precludes a spouse from changing any current health insurance policies and requires that spouse to keep all premiums current. Thus, a non-working spouse is protected with regard to health insurance coverage during the pendency of a divorce case in Colorado – this is not true in all states.

The single biggest change is that the new law requires health insurance companies to accept new persons regardless of pre-existing conditions. This obviously bodes well for spouses that otherwise would have a very difficult time receiving coverage after a divorce. As stated in the article, "It gives the non-working spouse the freedom to move on and not worry about their health," said Judy Resnick, a private wealth adviser with the Johnston, Resnick, Mittman Group, in Century City, Calif., part of Bank of America Merrill Lynch's private banking and investment group. "It will take one of the fears out of divorcing—I think it's huge."

Further, the more affordable care and/or government subsidy options will make maintenance calculations more feasible. In Colorado, maintenance calculations are primarily based on one's party's need and the other party's ability to pay. When representing a non-working spouse, it will be more feasible to obtain concrete estimates of potential health insurance plans and have it be considered as part of the needs analysis in a maintenance calculation. This aspect will actually be beneficial to both parties in a divorce proceeding. It will also be interesting to see how the Affordable Care Act interplays with the new Colorado Maintenance Statute which also takes effect on January 1, 2014 (and is the subject of a previous Feldmann & Nagel Domestic Team blog).

While I voice no opinion on the passage of the Affordable Care Act in general, it will certainly be beneficial to both spouses in a divorce proceeding.

Please contact the Domestic Team at Feldmann & Nagel with any questions you may have about how the new law will affect your rights or for any of your Domestic Law needs.

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