New research from the University of Michigan shows that women are more likely than men to end up without health insurance following a divorce. The rates of women without insurance remain high even several years after a divorce becomes final.
The new study shows that many women lose their health insurance and struggle regaining it after divorce. Using 11 years of Census data, lead researcher Bridget Lavelle looked at health insurance levels of women before and after a divorce. She found that nearly 16% of women lose health insurance within six months of divorce and go without it for at least two years.
Ms. Lavelle, a Ph.D. student at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, said that, perhaps unsurprisingly, women with the highest risk of losing coverage are those were covered under a husband’s plan prior to the divorce. Of that group nearly 1 out of every 4 become uninsured following separation.
Going along with the loss in insurance, research indicates that after a divorce many women suffer a substantial decline in overall economic well-being. This general decline makes it harder for women to afford health insurance, even if they were not original included under their husband’s plan.
Ms. Lavelle’s study did not look at the situation for men, but previous research, she said, shows that men do not suffer the decline in economic well-being to the same extent that women do. “Men are also less likely than women to be insured through a spouse’s insurance,” she said. “For both of these reasons, the risk of insurance loss is probably substantially less for men.”
Additional statistics show this overall decline for women. For instance, recently divorced women are more likely to be in poverty than men, 22% compared with 11%. Some portion of that may be related to lack of health insurance. This loss of health insurance coverage also puts women’s health at risk. “Being uninsured also means women are less likely to go to the doctors for check-ups or to get medical care when they do get sick.”
If you find yourself facing divorce and are worried about your financial future, you need the help of an experienced South Carolina family law attorney to guide you through the thorny process.
Source: “Research shows after divorce, women more likely than men to lose health insurance,” published at PRI.org.
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