Amy Chua, Liza Donnelly and Gary Gulman are panelists for TMSIDK’s “Family Matters” episode. (Photo: Lucy Sutton)
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.