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Women can lose health insurance coverage through divorce

Posted on in Divorce

The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor did a study and found that about 115,000 women lose their health insurance every year due to divorce. Unfortunately, this is not usually remedied quicklly; the overall rates of health insurance coverage for women after a divorce  remains low for two or more years.

The lead author of the study is Bridget Lavelle, a University Ph.D. candidate in public policy and sociology; she claims that the loss of health insurance is a huge deal because it most often is concurrent with the loss of a husband. The study analyzes data from across the nation from 1966 through 2007 on women between the ages of 26 to 64. Lavelle conducted the study with U-M sociologist Pamela Smock, and the research was supported by the U-M National Poverty Center.

The study also found:

  • About 65,000 divorced women lose all health insurance coverage in the months following divorce yearly. These women often have trouble maintaining private health insurance because they do not qualify as a dependent on their husbands’ policies or cannot pay premiums for other private insurances. These women also do not typically qualify for Medicaid or other public insurance.
  • Almost one quarter of divorced women who were previously dependents of their husband’s employer-based insurance policy remain uninsured six months after divorce.
  • Women who have their own employer-based insurance are less likely to lose coverage, but are still vulnerable to loss of coverage. Financial losses relating to the divorce can reduce their ability to meet expenses they regularly pay, including their own share of the employee-sponsored health insurance.

Lavelle and Smock found that women in moderate-income families have the highest chance for insurance coverage loss. They are more likely than high-income women to lose coverage and they do not have access to public insurance programs. Education and full-time work were also found to be important buffers preventing women from losing their health insurance after a divorce; unfortunately many women work part time, so this effect is not a complete solution.

If you are currently going through a divorce and need help, contact A. Traub and Associates divorce attorneys. A. Traub and Associates can help you maintain your lifestyle throughout and after a divorce.

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