Have you heard about the marriage penalty hidden deep within Obamacare? Yes, it appears that being married may not have its advantages when it comes to the new healthcare law. The Heritage Foundation first brought this to our attention in January of 2010, before the ACA was signed into law. They referred to it at the time as the ‘federal wedding tax’ and for the most part, it has been unnoticed, until now. It seems that a married couple from New York announced their intent to possibly seek a divorce, in order to qualify for Obamacare subsidies.
A married couple can get Obamacare subsidies if their combined income is less than 400% above the poverty line. However, the federal poverty for married couples is less than double for individuals–and the new law tends to favor couples living together over those that are married. For example, according to The Atlantic, a married couple in New York making a combined income of $62,040 would not qualify for an Obamacare subsidy. However that same couple, if they were to divorce, could make up to a combined income of $91,920 and would then be able to qualify for Obamacare subsidies. The Heritage Foundation concluded that under Obamacare, a married couple would pay over $10,000 more per year than an unmarried couple.
According to research from the Kaiser Family Foundation, married couples made up just a small percentage of the uninsured in the year 2012. That is because married couples usually have two pathways available to them to make sure that each other can be insured. It is almost double the percentage for uninsured single adults (living together) at 33.4% compared to uninsured married couples at just 15.4%.
What kind of message does this send? Was this accidental, or possibly overlooked, when this was signed into law? Considering that The Heritage Foundation tried to warn us about it prior to Obamacare becoming law, it is hardly conceivable that it was an “accident”. Struggling couples should not have to be faced with a decision like this in the wake of trying to find affordable healthcare before the new law kicks in. I can only imagine how many couples this law could affect; can you imagine being faced with the decision to get a divorce in order to be able to financially afford health insurance, in order to avoid a penalty?
Obamacare is a mess. Not only are we faced with massive policy cancellations, a shortage of doctors, our top hospitals opting out of the Obamacare exchange, a failed website that is a hackers dream, and higher deductibles with higher premiums, we now may be faced with a higher divorce rate in order to afford our health insurance premiums. Way to go Obamacare. Not only are you destroying the best healthcare system in the world, you are also destroying America’s families. You are destroying the institution of marriage, which is the foundation of many of our families. Whether this was merely overlooked or not, the bottom line is that you should have read it before we found out what was in it.