Medicaid, the government health insurance program for the poor, historically has required individuals to be both low-income and have no more than a few thousand dollars of available assets. Many degenerative medical conditions are beyond the means of low-income families, and spending all of their savings to take care of a sick spouse would leave the healthy spouse destitute in retirement. What’s the solution? “Medical divorce.”
With a medical divorce, a couple splits their assets so the sick spouse can spend out his or her share and qualify for Medicaid. The healthy spouse can keep his or her share, and be sustained in retirement that may be decades off. After the Affordable Care Act, researchers found that divorce went down by about 5.6 percent in the states that expanded Medicaid compared to the states that did not.
Join our dysfunctional family for this episode of Tell Me Something I Don’t Know on parenting, cousins, genealogy and more. Our panelists are:
Amy Chua, Yale law professor and author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, who sometimes doesn’t practice what she preaches.
Liza Donnelly, New Yorker cartoonist, whose ancestor coined the phrase, “Trenton makes, the world takes.”
Gary Gulman, comedian, who never had a home-game Thanksgiving growing up.
Our real-time fact-checker is A.J. Jacobs, author of the upcoming book It’s All Relative, who shares a very personal ailment with his ancestor.