Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Women Often Lose Health Insurance in Divorce

Long-term marriage has been an endangered species for some time in our society.  Couples in the United States divorce at the rate of approximately one million times each year.

Divorce is Hell for both men and women.  Even in our post-modern society, however, women still seem to get the brunt of the pain.

According to a recent study published by the University of Michigan, approximately 115,000 women nationwide lose their health insurance coverage as a direct result of the divorce process.  Of these, some 65,000 never re-gain coverage.

The study was conducted by Bridget Lavelle, a UM sociology doctoral candidate.  Ms. Lavelle examined literature and data from survey respondents who divorced between the years 1996 and 2007.  The December issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior will feature the study.

Lavelle postulates that women's loss of health insurance benefits is not just a temporary disruption resulting from the divorce process.  Rather, she concludes that the loss of health insurance coverage for women is a long-term problem that compounds the economic losses of divorced women.

What's worse is that mid-income women have the greatest risk of loss of coverage because they do not qualify for Medicaid or other safety-net coverage options available to lower income divorcees.

We here at the Law Blogger wonder what effect Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act will have on this equation next year when everyone must carry insurance by mandate of federal law.

When facing a divorce, if you are at risk of losing your health insurance coverage, consider demanding some form of short-term alimony payments sufficient to cover the 3-year period of COBRA available from your spouse's employer.  Or, in the alternative, shop for comparable affordable health insurance.

The short-term alimony approach will at least cover women during the initial transition from marriage when, as posited by Ms. Lavelle, they are most at risk to lose health insurance coverage, and suffer even greater economic hardships as a result.

1 comment:

Marie Gee said...

A divorce changes priorities, and possibly who you intend the benefits of your policy to be,The ownership of an existing life insurance policy is one of the most important factors in any divorce, A term life policy is often the best choice for a policy after a divorce as well. Unlike a whole life policy, which accumulates cash value over time, term life premiums are very affordable, the value of the policy is often enough to cover future alimony and child support.