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Is the cost of medical care causing Maryland couples to divorce?

The cost of long-term health care and other medical care expenses are driving some couples to divorce in Illinois and other parts of the nation. While it is not the best solution under any kind of circumstances, the fact is that when a couple's finances are separated, Medicaid can take over to pay for an infirm spouse's medical care until the end of his or her life.

Some financial advisors are actually recommending couples with sound marriages to obtain a legal divorce in order to prevent financial ruin. This advice is controversial for all the obvious reasons. However, it is not uncommon for well-meaning attorneys and financial advisors to recommend such strategies.

One should keep in mind, though, that Medicare coverage of nursing care is limited to only 100 days. After the 100 days are up, couples that require nursing care must pay for it out of pocket until they have exhausted their financial resources, or they must start to draw from their long-term care insurance -- if they are lucky enough to have it.

Unfortunately, those without long-term health care insurance must pay for nursing care with their own resources until they have exhausted them and Medicaid takes over. For married couples, all joint assets must be exhausted -- and it does not matter whose name is on the accounts.

As the baby boomer generation continues to age in Illinois, nursing care expenses and medical care expenses will represent a big hurdle. The brutal reality they face could drive many couples to enter into a divorce in order to legally separate with a specially designed property settlement intended to save their joint assets from depletion. In instances where this strategy is required, though, it can be carried out in a way that limits the emotional difficulties that will no doubt result from such proceedings.

Source: Forbes, "Divorce Due To Medical Bills? Sometimes It Makes Sense" Eve Kaplan, Aug. 21, 2014

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