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Will the new health care law be a catalyst for a divorce uptick?

Tomorrow spells the long-awaited effective date on which American consumers can begin browsing online for health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

That law, better known to millions as Obamacare, allows individuals and families in Florida and nationally to peruse coverage options through so-called health insurance exchanges on their computers. A main thrust of the offerings is to open up health care insurance to millions of persons who don’t currently have it, and to generally make it more affordable.

Interestingly, one recent media article notes that a result of the new law could be an uptick in the national divorce rate. Although the reason for that might seem far from immediately intuitive, the possibility does seem to reasonably exist.

The reason: Some couples remain married primarily if not solely for financial reasons, with health care costs being an often-cited concern. Comparatively cheaper health care coverage is generally available in a marriage when one of the spouses has a company-sponsored plan.

But for that plan, some evidence posits, the other spouse might be more tempted to file for divorce. In other words, if an affordable option presented itself pursuant to which a divorcing spouse could go it alone ….

Enter Obamacare, which could just be the vehicle allowing for expanded purchase choices and cost savings that might embolden more people to file for divorce.

“[H]ealth insurance definitely comes up a lot,” says one financial consultant, who notes that the high costs associated with going it alone unquestionably keep many couples together.

It will be interesting to see whether any discernible rise in the nation’s divorce rate becomes apparent in upcoming months and, if so, whether it can be attributed at all to the new health care law. We will keep readers informed.

Source: Financial Planning, "Divorce wave to follow Obamacare rollout?" Janice Fioravante, Sept. 30, 2013

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