Study Finds Women in California and Nationwide Often Lose Health Insurance Coverage After Divorce

A study recently published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior reportedly found that many women in California and throughout the nation find themselves without private health insurance coverage following the end of their marriage. Researchers from the University of Michigan estimate that approximately 115,000 women in the United States lose their private health insurance as a result of divorce every year. The study also reportedly found that women tend to have lower rates of overall medical coverage for at least two years after divorcing.

As part of the study, researchers examined national data collected between 1996 and 2007 regarding health insurance coverage for women aged 26 to 64. Investigators reportedly found that almost 25 percent of women who were insured as a dependent on their husband’s employer-based health insurance plan were no longer insured six months after their marriage ended. According to lead study author Bridget Lavelle, because about one million couples throughout the nation end their marriage every year, the associated health coverage impact is substantial. Annually, about 65,000 women reportedly lose all healthcare benefits within just a few months of divorcing.

Although researchers found that women with their own employer-based health plans were less likely to become uninsured following a divorce, a number of women still went without medical coverage purportedly due to the financial hardship associated with paying their portion of the premium. Unfortunately, women who are unable to afford private or employer-based healthcare premiums are often not eligible to receive Medicaid or other publicly funded health insurance. Lavelle stated middle-income women are at the greatest risk of losing health benefits after divorcing. She believes high-income families are more likely have the funds necessary to pay for private health insurance coverage while low-income women may be assisted by insurance programs that are publicly funded.

California is a no fault divorce state. This means a San Diego court will issue a divorce decree despite opposition from one of the parties. Delays can be both costly and time consuming. One common issue that can have an effect on the length of divorce proceedings is health insurance coverage for a dependent spouse. Because of this, insurance coverage or a spousal support agreement that includes the cost of health insurance should be discussed by the parties before a divorce is finalized. If neither spouse intends to remarry in the near future, it may be wise to consider asking the court to enter a divorce judgment without immediately terminating the marital status in order to maintain health coverage. A knowledgeable San Diego divorce lawyer can discuss your options with you in more detail.

If you have questions about the dissolution of marriage process, call Doppelt and Forney, APLC toll-free at (800) ROY IS IT (769-4748) today. Mr. Doppelt is a hardworking Encinitas divorce attorney with more than 20 years of experience guiding clients through the often contentious California divorce process. Mr. Doppelt is available to assist clients with all of their divorce, spousal support, child custody, child support, adoption, paternity, and other family law needs. Doppelt and Forney, APLC represents clients located in San Diego, Encinitas, Linda Vista, Scripps Ranch, and throughout Southern California. To schedule a free confidential consultation with a compassionate family lawyer, contact Doppelt and Forney, APLC through the law firm’s website.

More Blogs:

New California Law Allows Abused Spouse to Avoid Paying Legal Fees for Jailed Former Husband, San Diego Divorce Lawyer Blog, November 13, 2012
Empty Nest Divorces in California Are Often a Different Ballgame, San Diego Divorce Lawyer Blog, November 6, 2012
Additional Resources:

Divorce Puts Women at Risk of Losing Health Insurance, Study Finds, U.S. News & World Report

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