New York, NY- Every year close to a million couples go through divorce and one of the things that women lose as a result is their health insurance. A new study by the University of Michigan showed that 115,000 women are uninsured after their divorce is final.
This loss of insurance coverage is not a temporary thing either; many of the women remain without health insurance for two years after their marriage is dissolved.
Barbara Lavelle, lead researcher for the study explains, “Given that approximately one million divorces occur each year in the U.S., and that many women get health coverage through their husbands, the impact is quite substantial.”
Lavelle along with sociologist Pamela Stock analyzed data from 1996 to 2007 on women between the ages 26 and 64. Their research showed that 65,000 divorced women lose all of their health coverage because they no longer qualify as dependents under their former husbands insurance. Newly divorce women, who are working, often sacrifice health insurance through their employer because they cannot afford to pay the premiums as they struggle to meet their everyday expenses.
The majority of these uninsured women don’t qualify for public assistance such as Medicaid since they tend to fall in the moderate income level.
“Women in moderate-income families face the greatest loss of insurance,” Lavelle says, “They are more likely than higher-income women to lose private coverage and they have less access to lower-income women to public safety-net insurance programs.”
Lavelle also said she is not sure how the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, will address this problem but the law has provisions that might help.
Amid negotiations for a divorce settlement, the subject of health insurance is often put to the wayside. It is wise for women to discuss with their divorce attorneys the possibility of including health insurance premiums in their settlement talks.