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Uncertain future of health care has couples putting off divorce

While people in Nevada and across the country continue to hear reports about Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the uncertain future of American health care is having an immediate effect on married couples who are planning to divorce. Many couples are putting divorce off because of the possibility that one spouse could lose their health insurance if the law or certain parts of it are repealed.

Before the Affordable Care Act, couples who wanted a divorce often stayed married only because a divorce would cause one spouse to lose their health insurance. When the ACA took effect in 2014, it prevented insurance companies from charging more or denying coverage completely for pre-existing conditions, and it guaranteed coverage for everyone on the individual market. That often made it easier for spouses who were in a position to lose their insurance upon divorce to find affordable replacement coverage.

If lawmakers repeal the ACA, it could bring back the old status of health care as it pertains to marriage. In other words, the person who is covered under their spouse's insurance could be faced with the possibility of losing health insurance coverage after divorce because of a pre-existing condition or an inability to afford coverage.

Health insurance is just one of many factors that someone should consider when they are planning to divorce. Life after divorce could be difficult financially for someone who doesn't carefully plan for legal proceedings. While no one is required to be represented by an attorney when getting a divorce, a lawyer can offer legal advice and speak for the client in negotiations.

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