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Obamacare Restrictions Lead Brooklyn Couple To Consider Divorce

'We Would Save Thousands Of Dollars If We Got Divorced,' Woman Says
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For more information about the Affordable Care Act, visit CBSNewYork.com/ACA.
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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — From website crashes to long holds on calls, the issues involved with the unveiling of the Affordable Care Act are well documented.

But now, could it be breaking couples up?

CBS 2’s Don Champion spoke to one Brooklyn couple on Wednesday who said they may be forced to get a divorce to get health insurance.

Nona Willis Aronowitz and Aaron Cassara’s love affair began at a party in 2008.

“We kissed on a bean bag chair,” Aronowitz said.

A year later, it grew into a marriage at City Hall in Manhattan.

“It was really sudden,” Aronowitz said. “It was basically because he needed health insurance, and I had a job that would give that to him.”

But four years later, there is now irony in the fact the couple could soon divorce for the same reason.

“After Obamacare has rolled out, we realized that we would save thousands of dollars if we got divorced,” Aronowitz said.

The issue for Aronowitz and Cassara is that together as family of only two, they make more than the $62,000 level to qualify for subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. But if they lived together unmarried, they would qualify for the subsidies and could literally save hundreds of dollars a month on their health care.

A single person can qualify for subsidies if they make less than $46,000 a year.

“It’s really complicated,” Aronowitz said. “Go on the website, you’ll see what I mean,” Aronowitz told Champion.

Aronowitz, a freelance writer, and Cassara, who works as a freelancer in the film industry, lost their health coverage recently when Aronowitz was laid off.

Critics of the Affordable Care Act have called the pricey decision the couple faces the “marriage penalty.” But the income levels for subsidies were set by Congress.

“I’m an educated, very well plugged-in person and I can’t figure it out,” Aronowitz said.

Aronowitz said she and her husband are deeply in love but together were never the “marrying type.” Still, they said they’re not taking the decision ahead of them lightly.

“In our case, it would be worth it,” Aronowitz said. “In other people’s cases, where marriage is really, really important to them and they had this big wedding and it was this sacred experience, I think it would be a really tough decision for them.”

The couple is looking at other health options before making the divorce decision.

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