“Medicaid Divorce” – Seeking a Divorce for Medical Reasons
In an effort to make medical care more affordable, more and more Americans are using a surprising economic tool: divorce. Most couples file for divorce because they no longer love one another, they have irreconcilable differences, or they’re facing other serious relationship issues. However, some perfectly happy couples are choosing to file for divorce not because they wish to live separate lives, but because one spouse needs to obtain long-term or critical medical benefits.
While this is an extreme step, a person with a serious medical condition or disability may qualify for better healthcare benefits and care options if their marital assets and income of their spouse cannot be taken into consideration.
Why Divorce for Medical Reasons?
It’s no secret that nursing home care is astronomically expensive. Unfortunately, more and more elderly couples are struggling to pay for nursing home care, and in order to afford these necessary medical costs, they’ve begun to look for creative solutions. The same applies to families when one spouse becomes very ill, and the family cannot weather the devastating financial impact of treatment even if they do have health insurance. When facing the choice between bankruptcy or losing critical health treatments, a divorce can provide another possible option.
The two primary motivators for a medical divorce are:
- To obtain Medicaid, disability, or other long-term care benefits for an ill or disabled spouse.
- To preserve the assets of the healthier spouse instead of going bankrupt paying for care.
By filing for a divorce, couples can preserve their shared assets through the healthy spouse while simultaneously gaining better health benefits for the ill spouse. To do this, the couple may opt to provide the heathy spouse with a greater portion of their marital assets during property division, leaving the ill spouse with fewer assets to claim. As a result, the ill spouse may become eligible for Medicaid, or they may qualify for greater benefits through other sources of long-term healthcare, and the healthy spouse will be left with full control over the assets they’ve collected over the years.
Are There Other Options?
Medicaid’s spousal impoverishment provisions also help protect any assets a married couple shares. However, this allowance has certain limitations depending on your state of residence.
Let Our Compassionate Attorneys Help You
If you need help determining whether divorce is the best choice for you, our firm can sit down with you and your spouse to weigh your options and determine whether divorce is the best move for your family. Contact McKinley Irvin to schedule a consultation with our attorneys.