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Women Who Divorce at Risk of Losing Health Insurance


The break-up of a marriage is a difficult and emotional time in the life of a woman.  This emotional upheaval is made even more stressful for the more than 100,000 women each year who lose their health insurance after a divorce.

According to a study by the University of Michigan, approximately 115,000 women each year in the United States lose their health insurance benefits when they divorce.  These women either lose, or have their coverage lowered for more than two years after they divorce.

The results of this study was published in the December issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, and used data gathered from 1996 through 2007. Researchers found that among the approximately one million divorces that occur each year, around 100,000 women lose health insurance coverage because they no longer qualify as dependents under their husband’s plans, and also because they do not have the means to pay the premiums for private insurance once once they are divorced and on their own.

Even though divorced women may be having financial difficulties, many do not qualify for Medicaid or other public health insurance.

Researchers found that those women in moderate-income families are those that are more likely to have no insurance coverage, as higher income women can afford their own private insurance, and lower-income women will usually qualify for public health insurance coverage.

Researchers  look to the Affordable Care Act to assist in remedying this loss of health insurance coverage for divorced middle-class women.  The act aims to improve the health care system in this country by making health insurance coverage mandatory for all Americans, and will go into full effect in 2014. 

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