Divorce puts women at risk to lose health insurance

On behalf of Jeffrey N. Greenblatt of Joseph, Greenwald & Laake, PA posted in Divorce on Wednesday, December 19, 2012.

Divorce impacts several aspects of a person's life, including healthcare. A new study found that divorced women have a higher risk of losing health insurance coverage, which ultimately can have disastrous consequences on a woman's health.

Every year, an estimated 115,000 women lose private health insurance coverage after getting divorced, according to a study done by the University of Michigan. In addition, women's insurance coverage decreases or remains low for more than two years after getting a divorce.

Researchers at the University of Michigan studied national data from 1996 to 2007. They studied health insurance coverage for women between the age of 26 and 64. Researchers said the results of the study were somewhat surprising because no one knew just how many women were losing health insurance after getting a divorce.

Many women who get divorced were covered through their husband's employer-based health insurance plan. After the divorce, they are no longer eligible to be covered and many end up losing health insurance coverage all together. After women lose their eligibility, they may try to find private insurance coverage on their own but many are unable to afford the high premiums of these plans.

The study also found that the women most at risk for losing health insurance coverage after divorce were women from moderate-income families. Women from low-income families were found to usually qualify for Medicaid or other public insurance plans offered through the state. Women from moderate-income families do not qualify for state-assisted health insurance but they also cannot afford to pay private insurance premiums so they are left without any health insurance.

While there are not many solutions to help this issue right now, divorce attorneys recommend that women getting divorced consider all their options for health insurance coverage and make sure they consider insurance premium costs when negotiating their financial settlements during divorce.

Source: Medicine Net, "Divorce Puts Women at Risk of Losing Health Insurance, Study Finds," Nov. 16, 2012