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Ohio women often face health insurance challenges after divorce

It has long been known that divorce frequently results in the loss of health insurance coverage for one or spouse, most often women, both in the short-term and for a significant length of time. Now, a new study has confirmed that belief, finding that more than 100,000 women in Columbus and around the country lose their health insurance coverage every year following divorce. Perhaps more importantly, many of those women remain uninsured two years after their split

In the study, researchers analyzed data from a national sample of women between the ages of 26 and 64 that was collected between 1996 and 2007. They found that about 65,000 women lose all of their health insurance in the weeks or months following a divorce. The primary reason for this is that many women are covered under their husband's employer-provided health insurance, and the terms of those policies usually dictate that a non-spouse does not qualify as a dependent.

Following the loss of their husband's health insurance, many women have difficulty obtaining their own coverage. One reason for this is the cost of private insurance plans, which some women simply cannot afford. Also, many women work part-time and therefore do not qualify for their own employer-provided insurance.

Women who work full-time and are eligible for insurance provided by their employer are less likely to lose health insurance coverage after a divorce. However, the high cost of a divorce may leave them struggling to make ends meet and unable to afford health insurance premiums and related costs.

Source: Science Codex, "Divorce costs thousands of women health insurance coverage," Nov. 12, 2012

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