If I am married but separated from my husband, do I have to divorce him in order to get my own health insurance?


You and your husband can file for health insurance separately and can each enroll in marketplace insurance, but you wouldn't generally get cost assistance. As a rule of thumb people in a tax family must share a family plan. The exception to this joint filing rule is in cases of domestic abuse or spousal abandonment. You and your husband would need to get a divorce in order to purchase your own health insurance and remain eligible for Marketplace subsidies due to the way tax filing works (subsidies are based on household income).

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Don Baker on

Our daughter, 47, has been separated from her husband for about 10 years, during which she has received no support from him, although in the first couple years she remained on his union-provided health insurance. As I read this she can get Obamacare, but if she wants a subsidy they must divorce. Is that correct? btw, she lives in Ohio, he in VA and their children are non-dependent adults.

ObamaCareFacts.com on

She doesn’t have to be divorced to get subsidies, she just has to file taxes as “married filing separately”. There are special directions for claiming the tax credit this way. This can be done on form 8962. https://obamacarefacts.com/premium-tax-credit-form-8962/

Read more about filing under different martial statuses here. http://www.irs.gov/publications/p504/ar02.html

Yvette on

Answer Rating:

I was told during sign up last year that I would not qualify for subsidies because I am still legally married. I have been separated for 8 years and have filed head of household each year. ??? Why would the representatives at the Marketplace give me such incorrect information? I desperately need health insurance. I’m stuck with a bill from a car accident that wasn’t my fault.

ObamaCareFacts.com on

Form 8962 allows you to claim the tax credit using alternative calculations that account for different types of marriage related situations.

Bertie Hinds on

I am separated and I was charge full price for my health care after I could not afford health insurance I had to cancel my coverage

Mike on

Answer Rating:

It says “neither of you will not be eligible’?. Can a separated spouse not living together be eligible for subsidies?

ObamaCareFacts.com on

Subsidies are based mostly on filing status (and obviously that relates to the status of a marriage). If you file with a person it shouldn’t matter if you physically live with them, if you don’t file together than you each can claim tax credits based on your own household income. The best bet is to seek professional advice or to check out the instructions for 8962 in regards to alternative calculations for marriage.

Shaun Smith on

What about a legal separation instead of a divorce? Would that qualify you for the cost assistance?

robin wagner on

That’s unfair since we have separated all other finances.

Joanna on

I am still legally married but am separated from my spouse due to verbal and emotional abuse. I am supporting myself and my son on a very low income and would qualify for Medical (at least financially). Since I am still legally married can I qualify for Medical? I am utterly unable to pay health insurance on my income, and my spouse cannot afford to pay for my health insurance either.

ObamaCareFacts.com on

Spousal abuse gives you opportunities to claim tax credits on your own, exemptions, and may result in you qualifying for Medicaid (Medi-cal in CA).

I would call the CA marketplace.

See page 5 of the tax credit form here: https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i8962.pdf

Shirley Gerwycki on

I’ve been married to my husband for 13 years and am now on disability. I use his insurance I have muscular sclerosis, we are talking about getting a legal seperation and trying to work things out. If we do get a legal seperation am I able to stay on his insurance?

ObamaCareFacts.com on

You should look at page 3 “married tax payers” on the instructions for 8962. You can’t share a plan if you are separated legally unless you meet certain qualifications that allow you to. It’s all explained in the instructions.


Daniel Whitfield on

My wife and I are separated in North Carolina, she and her children
have medicaid, and my biological daughter has medicaid, ( my wife and I never had children together ), and I am uninsured at this time. How will this effect me in applying for any kind of health insurance, and how should i file taxes when it comes to this situation?

ObamaCareFacts.com on

You can look at form 8962 to understand how separation works with tax credits. In general, if you are separated and filing as separate then you can claim your own tax credits based off the number of members you are filing for (family size) and household income. https://obamacarefacts.com/premium-tax-credit-form-8962/

crystal Williams on

I wanna know can i legally make my husband add me on health ins

ObamaCareFacts.com on

If you file taxes together then you can share a plan with cost assistance in most living situations. Plan adds have to be done during open or special enrollment.

April on

My husband and I are going to file for a non contested divorce next week due to loss of interest and love in the marriage and I need to find health coverage immediately even though the law says he must hold me on insurance we are trying to end the marriage peacefully and not put extra costs on either party so I would like to get my own coverage as soon as possible so I can be removed from his insurance plan he has threw his place of employment and not incurred the extra fees for keeping me on his plan and I am on unemployment compensation but I am vigorously trying to secure any type of work to be independent and again to not have to pay the extra expense

Debbie Lucero on

My husband moved out, but I don’t have the money for divorce. I took him off my insurance, and he needs insurance. Does he still qualify for obamacare?

ObamaCareFacts.com on

You should coordinate this directly with healthcare.gov. A situation like this is complex, but there are solutions.

Julia on

My brother separated from her wife 4 years ago due to her verbal abuse. He was out of country during that time and Just came back to US again. He has two daughter, one is an adult one is a minor. He has not seen her daughters since 4 years ago and does not know where they live. He does not have income and living with me and my husband. Can he be qualify for Medi-Cal?

Hope on

In my obamacare me and my husband filing taxes jointly but its been a month My husband is not a part of my household anymore , his name is no longer in my new lease so i called market place to tell them but its seems like if i am filling taxes married separetly i can’t get tax credit but if i am filling jointly i get it so my question if my husband accept to file taxes jointy with me its not a problem? Its a fraud? Because i get snap and he is not in my case

Karen on

My husband has health insurance through the VA due to the fact that he is a War Veteran he is also 60% disabled. We have been separated for 6 months. After he got out of the Military everything has gone down hill according to my husband. He hasnt been able to stay at a job longer than 6 months before he gets laid off. I work and he does too but there still isn’t enough money to pay for health insurance. My husband says he would rather pay for any medical expenses upfront than to pay $500 dollars a month which he cant afford neither could I. I have 2 Sons and i am seeking help. I applied for medical. My husband is so upset and angry because he says I got way to ahead and I am going to mess up his benefits and my Sons he even said I have benefits for being his wife. I definitely do not want to stress him out any more than he already is. But I need Health insurance!!!! I’m even even stresses now!!! HELP!!!

Nicole Wilkes on

My father is 59. He is not working and has been unable to get a job so he is currently living with my sister. He and my step mother are still leagally married but have not lived together for 10 years. He can’t afford, due to no income, health care. Since they are still leagally married and she has insurance through her employer can or is she supposed to cover him on her insurance through her emoployer?

[email protected] Erin on

Short answer yes. Your father meets all the guidelines to be your sisters tax dependent. As long as your step-mom doesn’t claim him as a dependent. She would need to use the filing status, “married, filing separately.” If she is unwilling to do that, it could mean a more involved court process to determine who your father is dependent of.

Healthcare.gov defines a household as including a spouse and all tax dependents. And the IRS gives more detailed guidance see the section, “Qualifying Relative” here.

Haralk on

File for divorce or completed divorce?

Jess on

My husband and I are married but I am not a us citizen I have no SSN he’s been trying to sign up for market place for over a week woth our daughter he loses mediciad in just a few days and its not working he files head of household because he treats me as a non resident alien

jb on

This is WRONG. If there is a LEGAL order of separation, the adults can file separately and not be treated as married. See IRS PUB 5187.

Gary on

I am separated from spouse but never worked durning our marriage of 3 yrs I hurt myself before we met .we got married an she put me on her ins .now we are separated.I am waiting for ssi till that time does she have to keep me covered for ins .we are not divorce yet or filed

Kate Bloodworth on

so my husband and I are legally separated because of vulnerable adult abuse – I did not file charges but the state was notified and has been in to check on me several times – we have lived separately since 9/5/16 and will most probably divorce after the one year time period. I am moving to my own apt and out of his house – am 59 yrs old and get $1810 per month in disability benefits. My medicare A and B start on 12/1 – what options for help do I have?


my husband and i are separated. he retired early to get me off his insurance. the whole marriage was based on his lies. does he have to pay for my insurance even though hes retired.

Erika Hopkins on

I am still legally married but am physically separated from my spouse due to habitual drinking. I work 20 hours per week with no benefits. We were on Medicaid, however we missed the renewal deadline. I did reapply for Medicaid, but I think we might be slightly over the income limits for Medicaid. I did some research and checked the Marketplace and I cannot afford insurance on my own. I currently take medications for hypertension and need insurance. What can I do?

Jamie on

What happens in a situation in which a husband and wife are in the midst of divorce but are not yet divorced. They had “family” ObamaCare for 2016, and filed for divorce in July of 2016. What should they do for 2017? They will be divorced sometime in 2017.

Erin on

If you aren’t living together during 2017 at any point and will likely have finalized the divorce before the end of 2017, it would be wise to get insurance that reflects the expectations for the year. There are a number of options, but without taking extra steps the custodial parent for tax purposes is the parent whom the child lives with the majority of the year. The other parent is considered the non-custodial parent. Premium Tax Credits for dependents are only eligible to the parent that files for the dependents exemption. Usually this is the custodial parent. However, there are a number of tax advantages to some parenting situations where parents do not live together either because of separation, divorce, or never being married. A custodial parent can wave their right to claim the dependent exemption and the child tax credit (must be both) to the non-custodial parent and this allows the non-custodial parent to qualify for the dependent’s cost assistance for Marketplace insurance. In this arrangement only the custodial parent can claim Earned Income Tax Credits, Dependent Care Credits, and file as head of household. Here is a little more information about form 8332, but the husband and wife should discuss with an accountant which tax situation is most beneficial for the parents and the children and have form 8332 signed as part of the divorce if that is the best situation.

Kathleen on

I have been married for 15 years, we have never lived together, shared expenses, or filed jointly. He is a disabled vet who does not have an income and doesn’t file taxes at this time. I have been filing married but separated according to the tax law. We do not have a marital relationship, and haven’t had one for many years. I have not seen him in years and can only contact him by text or facebook. I have a previous known address but he is always traveling and currently he is in Iceland, then Europe then who knows. I’ve never been able to I want to obtain health insurance but they stated that I have to file jointly or claim abandonment. I never saw it as “abandonment” but given the circumstances would it be considered that by the healthcare law.

Denise on

I am in the process of getting a divorce I was abandoned and this will take time to have him served as he is out of state . Do not want to falsify application. should I just leave him off the application?

Denise on

I was abandoned a year ago. I am still Married but am filing for divorce. Does this mean I cant apply now? It will take some time to find him to have him served. I don’t want to falsify my Application.

Erin on

If you have made a reasonable attempt to find your soon to be ex-spouse but are unable to, you’ve been deserted with regards to the ACA and marketplace insurance. You will simply check unmarried when applying on the marketplace. This is also true when you go to file your taxes (See Question 10 here). You can find more information out about how to file for this exception for Premium Tax Credits in the instructions for form 8962. You may also be eligible to file separately as Head of Household (see “Considered Unmarried” in IRS Pub 504) and you may also be eligible for Innocent Spousal Relief for any taxes owed due to your spouse or claim additional tax credits that you were denied because of your spouse on a previous tax return. For more information about that check IRS information here and here.

Tina on

If I am separated from my husband am I still able to be covered by his health insurance?

Erin on

There is no way for us to know that. If your husband or you haven’t cancelled your coverage than you are still enrolled. If you are legally separated, you can apply for insurance on your own and may find it more cost effective if you qualify for cost assistance.

Lucia on

I’m also legally separated from my husband and he has no job and I live with my college aged daughter whom I have to pay for everything. It’s pretty pathetic that those who devised this stupid legislation decided people must be divorced in order to get their own insurance get a subsidy. As it stands I can’t afford it.It would cost me an extra 650. a month that I don’t have. I can’t file for divorce until later this year and then it’s too late and frankly wasn’t planning to because of the cost. Whatever. So long as those who made the law their free care who cares, right? Losers. I’m not going to enroll. They penalize me all they want. I’m not paying into a system that is fundamentally flawed in so many ways.

Erin on

This is a big challenge for noncustodial parents who provide health insurance for their children. There is one way in which the tax credits for dependents can be divided, but it requires the cooperation of the custodial parent and it isn’t always the best tax arrangement for every family. Here is more information about how to split dependent tax credits for federal taxes: https://obamacarefacts.com/questions/child-enrollment-for-non-custodial-parent-obamacare-rules/

Susan on

My children’s father and I were never married and are no longer together. I qualify for food stamps and they automatically enrolled my children in the Oregon Health plan. Their fathers income is too high to qualify for assistance. I did not include his income as part of our household. Are my kids legitimately covered or should they be disqualified?

Erin on

Eligibility for medical benefits and assistance depends on the which tax family that the child/children are depend of. If you are claiming the children on your tax return, then their CHIP, Medicaid, or costs assistance (if on the marketplace) are based on your income.

catherine cannella on

Hello, i hope all is well…i have a special question…is a legsl separation equivalent to a devorce when trying to get assistance for the marketplace insurance. My husbsnd actually abandoned me with the house and all living expenses. However: im not in need of insurance but he is. We are not divorced due to religious beliefs. Can he apply for the insurance wirh assistance based on this information.
If this is not a possibility, i think we can file for a legal sepatstion…will this action be equivalent.
Thank you for your time and support.

ObamaCareFacts.com on

Good questions, certainly the situation is a little complex, but the general answer is found on form 8962 in the instructions Part IV


See: Exception 1—Certain married persons living apart or Exception 2—Victim of domestic abuse or spousal abandonment. AND Married filing separately (not in Exception 2—Victim of domestic abuse or spousal abandonment).

To answer your question, I think it will be possible, but is going to be a bit of work sitting down with the instructions and making sure you fully understand the right way to go about the allocation. If you have the resources you might consider getting some professional tax assistance.

Lisa Wilkerson on

My husband and I are on ohp due to a medical issues of my husbands where he could not longer work. He is now back to work and we are getting separated he has insurance through work, I don’t work, no children will,I still qualify?

Ah on

My husband and I live in Texas where legal separation is not a thing however we have been separated for over a year. He gets out of the military in October but plans to carry medical insurance for himself and out 2 kids through his employer how does this effect me trying to get insurance if we a4e still legally married?

ObamaCareFacts.com on

This makes thing difficult, I don’t have a perfect answer.

Unless you are the victim of abuse or spousal abandonment, you are supposed to file a joint return to get savings.

Here is documentation on it. I’m not sure the way around this (but I’ll look into and think on it more):


Colleen on

What about if I declare myself as the head of household on my tax return and we’re living in separate states?

ObamaCareFacts.com on

The general rules for the different situations that can occur are found in the 8962 instructions for alternative calculations for marriage. Not trying to avoid your question, just feel like it is best answered by reading the corresponding part of the documentation (see the following link).


Once you have the document ope, use “command find” and search for “head of household.” The situation is a little too complex for me to try to summarize, especially given the detailed explainer from the IRS.

Start with the section that says:

Married individuals who file separate returns are generally not eligible to take the PTC. However you may be able to take the PTC if you meet either of the following conditions.

– You file a return as single or head of household (see Exception 1—Certain married persons living apart under Married taxpayers, earlier).

– You file a return as married filing separately due to domestic abuse or spousal abandonment (see Exception 2—Victim of domestic abuse or spousal abandonment under Married taxpayers, earlier).

If Exception 1 or Exception 2 applies, follow rules in the next paragraph. If neither exception applies, see Married filing separately (not in Exception 2—Victim of domestic abuse or spousal abandonment), later.

Lisa on

I was separated from my husband for some time when I filed for health insurance for my children ( filed for CHIP) I put down we were separated. Now we are back together and are going to file taxes should I file separate or jointly ?

ObamaCareFacts.com on

I’m fairly certain it is your choice. If you are going to file taxes together, then you file healthcare taxes together. If you file taxes separately, then you file healthcare separately and whoever claims the child is responsible for them and the child’s assistance is based on that person’s income.

If you don’t know for sure which direction to go you can contact healthcare.gov and/or a tax professional for assistance.

Stansberry on

I am separated from my husband and i have no health insurance, he has medicare, can I still get free health insurance

ObamaCareFacts.com on

Yes essentially, the Medicare status of people in your household doesn’t affect your ACA or Medicaid eligibility. Meanwhile, if you are filing taxes separately his income wouldn’t affect your subsidy eligibility. All that said, to get free insurance you need to qualify for Medicaid. So it can make sense to contact your state Medicaid office and/or healthcare.gov for direction.

Yvette Lobo on

If y husband left and I can’t find him to get legally separated. Can I get Obama care?

ObamaCareFacts.com on

Yes, you still have options as long as this qualifies as “spousal abandonment.” See here: https://www.healthcare.gov/income-and-household-information/household-size/

With that said, you should call the marketplace, describe your situation, and let them help you to get everything set up correctly.

sally on

I am recently separated from my husband and need to get health insurance. He quit paying on the ins that we had together.

ObamaCareFacts.com on

Your best first step is to contact the marketplace, there are a few factors to deal with here (like the nature in which you lost coverage), but this is exactly the sort of stuff healthcare.gov is there to help walk you through.

Shelbi on

I am currently separated from my husband we have been for 2 years he refused to sign papers for most of that time and I work a minimum wage job and can’t afford to file or pay for court fees or lawyers he’s a soldier in the army and he left and abandoned me over text after his basic training he then told me to move on in which I have and now I am currently pregnant with my boyfriends baby I really need to get on Medicaid so me and my babies covered but i was unsure if they would let me qualify in this situation

ObamaCareFacts.com on

I think this may differ by state, but in general you are going to need some sort of proof that you are effectively separated. Legally separated or divorced is the simplest, but since you aren’t living together that may be enough. For example, here is a document on how it would work in Washington state, where not living together would help your case. https://www.washingtonlawhelp.org/files/C9D2EA3F-0350-D9AF-ACAE-BF37E9BC9FFA/attachments/3926A4E4-F9EF-BD3A-B0C3-B06CBEE67B55/188191SB%20Marital%20Separation%20%20Medicaid%20UPDATED%204-16-08.pdf

I would contact your state Medicaid department and ask them directly though.

Also, it is different for you than the kids. The Children may qualify for CHIP even if you don’t qualify for Medicaid, so ask about that too. https://www.medicaid.gov/state-overviews/index.html