Divorce Cheaper Option for Couples Facing Huge Obamacare Premiums

Thursday, 07 Nov 2013 11:07 AM

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Divorce rates may soon be on the rise, but not because of infidelity or irreconcilable differences. The reason? Obamacare.

A Brooklyn, N.Y. couple tells The Atlantic that parting ways would save them thousands of dollars a year.

As a couple, Nona Willis Aronowitz, a freelance writer, and Aaron Cassara, who works in the film industry, earn more than $62,000 a year, the threshold to qualify for subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. If they divorce and instead choose to just live together, they would qualify for the subsidies and save hundreds of dollars a month.

Editor's Note: ObamaCare Is About to Strike Are You Prepared?

“I guarantee you that in six months I will either be divorced or I will have a full-time job," Aronowitz says.

She told CBS, "After Obamacare has rolled out, we realized that we would save thousands of dollars if we got divorced."

The Cassaras are not the only Americans considering splitsville for financial reasons. The Affordable Care Act has already earned descriptive monikers such as a “wedding tax” and “divorce incentive.”

Obamacare’s mandate that all Americans purchase health insurance benefits low-income people while hurting middle and upper-income Americans, especially married couples, whose income is counted jointly.

Naked Capitalism website contributor Michael Olenick says he is weighing the decision of divorce or relocating to Europe, where his company is based, because of Obamacare’s cost-prohibitive price tag.

The cheapest plan under the Obamacare health exchange would cost Olenick’s family $493.68 a month with a maximum out-of-pocket cost of $12,600 per family.

“Of course the Obamacare covers more things, like mental health professionals and residential drug rehab for “free” once you hit that $12,600 level, in case the financial stress this causes drives a person to start needing sedatives,” Olenick writes.

But the government has provisions for those thinking about circumventing the new law with a divorce. Many states dictate that a couple cannot live together indefinitely and claim to be unmarried. The IRS can fine them for doing so to benefit from healthcare subsidies, Tom Blumer writes in a story posted on PJ Media.

“Those caught and punished by the IRS carrying out its new role as the de facto 'marriage police' could get hit with multi-year bills for undeserved 'tax credits' running into tens of thousands of dollars," Blumer said.

To further illustrate his point, Blumer references a calculator provided by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation showing the premiums for a 40-year-old couple with two children with the spouses’ annual earnings of $70,000 and $23,000, respectively.

“The couple’s annual unsubsidized premium while married is $11,547. But if they divorce and shack up while giving custody of both children to the lower-earning spouse, their combined annual premiums, at $4,317, will be over $7,200 lower. That’s over $600 a month.”

Editor's Note: ObamaCare Is About to Strike Are You Prepared?

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