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Divorcing spouses give to, and take, a lot from each other. Many former couples from Connecticut know this: In some cases, the property is divided in a way that sees certain assets change hands. In others, alimony payments are made along with child support. Even with such support, it can be hard for divorced spouses to survive after splitting their lives and incomes. This means caring for two households and the costs of all of the amenities and utilities that are necessary to live in a comfortable home.

This economic change can cause serious alterations in the lifestyles of the former spouses, and it may even necessitate them. Adding to this potential problem is one of the major losses that people do not often think of when a divorce occurs: health insurance. According to a recent study conducted by the University of Michigan, many women are left without health coverage less than a year after a divorce.

Data from the study allowed researchers to estimate that approximately 65,000 women in the U.S. become uninsured due to divorce. Among those women who were insured during the marriage, 17 percent of them were uninsured six months later. Another piece of the study found that 23 percent of those women covered as dependents on their husbands’ health insurance programs lost their coverage within six months of the split.

Though 65,000 become and remain uninsured, another 50,000 switch from private coverage to public coverage. This is because they meet the requirements for such programs as Medicaid and Medicare, allowing them to remain covered in case of any health issues.

Some of the women that became uninsured due to a divorce were unable to qualify for Medicare and Medicaid because they had too much wealth but not enough to cover the cost of private insurance, forcing them to continue living without insurance. Insurance coverage can be included in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

Source: Wall Street Journal, “After Divorce, Many Women Lose Health Insurance,” Daniel Akst, Nov. 14, 2012

Tags: divorce, family law, health insurance

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