Your Family and The Affordable Care Act
Going through a separation, a divorce in Aiken, or dealing with any type of family law issue is never easy. Even in situations where the parties agree on important matters and are on amicable terms with one another, the major changes you likely face as a result can still wreak havoc with your finances and may impact your ability to provide for yourself and your loved ones.
Particularly when children are involved, negotiating a reasonable settlement or obtaining a fair final order helps in ensuring that both you and they are provided for now and in the years to come. One of the many important issues that needs to be addressed during divorce, paternity, child custody, or other family law proceedings concerns who will provide health care. Find out more about the Affordable Care Act, what it does, and how it can benefit your family law case.
Find out more about family law, and what you can do about fighting for your case, by contacting the Surasky Law Firm today. Request Consultation
What Is The Affordable Care Act?
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a federal statute enacted by Congress, which was signed into law by then-President Barack Obama in March 2010. Often referred to as ‘Obamacare’, it represents a complete overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system and the broadest expansion of public health insurance benefits since Medicaid and Medicare were enacted in 1965.
Prior to its passage, an estimated 44 million Americans lacked any type of health insurance coverage. As a result, they were less inclined to go to the doctor, seek medical care for acute and chronic conditions, or receive the necessary treatments they needed to prevent death and disability. Once major provisions within the ACA went into effect in 2014, the number of uninsured people was nearly halved and there were numerous stories of potentially life-threatening conditions being caught in the early stages.
The major goal of the ACA is to lower health care costs, provide more oversight of the industry, and enable access to health care for the maximum number of people. Key provisions it contains that are designed to help in meeting those goals include:
Creation of state-based insurance exchanges, through which individuals and business could purchase health care policies;
Requirements that businesses provide benefits for their employees or face penalties;
Requirements that uninsured individuals enroll in coverage or face tax ramifications;
Government funded subsidies to help offset costs;
Greater oversight of healthcare services, with an eye towards decreasing costs;
Greater emphasis on preventative care and wellness programs;
Creation of a high-risk pool to protect people with pre-existing conditions, many of whom were previously denied coverage.
In addition to the above, the ACA also contained numerous provisions that directly benefit families. These include expanded Medicaid coverage for low-income individuals, elimination of co-pays for vaccinations and other well-child care services, removal of lifetime limits on policy pay-outs, and requirements that insurance companies allow children to remain on their parents policy until the age of 26.
How The Affordable Care Act Impacts South Carolina Family Court Proceedings
While the ACA offers many benefits, it does have detractors. In the early years of the program, many were disgruntled by the fact that it forced them to participate by assessing sizable tax penalties for not purchasing a policy or having any other type of health insurance in place. Some also claimed that it limited their access to certain providers or required them to switch from their previous doctor. Businesses were unhappy that it increased costs by mandating employer-provided coverage. However, even amidst these complaints, it had generally positive impacts on families, particularly those going through a divorce or separation.
Administered through the state Department of Insurance (DOI), the ACA in South Carolina helps to ensure people going through temporary difficulties do not have to sacrifice when it comes to obtaining medical care for themselves or their children. Among the positive impacts for families include:
Ensurence of help to continue health insurance coverage for spouses going through a divorce: Previously, a divorced spouse was immediately dropped from their partner’s plan, with their only recourse being to find a job that provided benefits.
Helps to ensure low-income parents have health insurance benefits: Money may be tight while going through paternity proceedings or in the aftermath of a divorce when a spouse fails to pay court-ordered support. Expanded Medicaid income limits mean you may be eligible for coverage.
Helps to ensure children are protected: They can be covered either through group coverage one of the parent’s have through an employer or via the health insurance marketplace.
Helps to prevent disputes over who assumes additional health care costs: A common point of contention between divorced or separated parents, the ACA eliminates the extra health care costs associated with well-child visits, school physicals, and vaccinations.
Negotiating Coverage For Families Through The ACA
When going through a divorce, there are certain issues under the South Carolina Code that must be resolved before a final order can be issued. These include the equitable division of marital property and assets, determinations regarding spousal support, and the care and custody of children. Likewise, with unmarried parents, child support is a major issue. In either situation, the ACA may play an important role in settlement negotiations. Among the factors to consider include:
Whether payment of health insurance premiums will be included as part of a settlement agreement;
Whether adult children from the marriage will continue to be covered;
Which parent will list young children on their policy and pay the associated premiums;
Who will list the children on their taxes and claim any tax credits, which will require proof of insurance.
Contact an Attorney Today for Help
At The Surasky Law Firm, we have decades’ worth of experience providing trusted legal guidance to people going through divorce, separation, child custody, paternity proceedings, and other important family law matters. To find out more about your rights and how the ACA could impact your case, call or contact our Aiken family law attorney online and request a consultation today.