Health care has been at the forefront of media coverage and the political scene over the past few months, and rightly so, as the cost of health care is rising and high unemployment and divorce rates in the U.S. typically result in the loss of health insurance. Yet one topic that has remained less talked about is the effects of divorce on health care coverage for women. Thousands of women lose health insurance every year in Texas and throughout the U.S. as a result of divorce.
A recent study by the University of Michigan estimates the numbers are as high as 65,000 women per year being uninsured once their marriage is dissolved in court. Many of these women were covered as dependents on their husband's policy. About 23 percent of women in that situation found themselves uninsured six months after being divorced.
Another trend is women moving from private coverage to public health care coverage following divorce. Each year about 115,000 women who have lost private coverage following a divorce resort to public health care such as Medicaid. However, women have to qualify for Medicaid, and some are caught in the limbo of being too affluent for public coverage, but lacking enough income to pay for private coverage for themselves. This, in turn, results in those women going without any health insurance coverage. The U.S. Census Bureau reports about 48.6 million people -- men, women and children -- went without health care coverage last year.
Health insurance is one safety net no one should be without, regardless of marital status. Women who can't afford a comprehensive plan that covers all their medical needs should at least consider investing in a policy that will provide some coverage in the event of a serious medical emergency.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, "After Divorce, Many Women Lose Health Insurance," Daniel Akst, Nov. 14, 2012
• Our firm handles divorce, property division and a wide range of other family law issues. To learn more about our practice, please visit our Denton County, Texas, divorce page.