New Study Finds That Divorce Places Women at Risk of Losing Health Insurance


One unexpected consequence of filing for a Pasadena divorce is losing access to health insurance. This is especially problematic for women. A recent University of Michigan studyreports that about 115,000 women nationwide lose private health insurance every year after going through a divorce. Of these women, 65,000 become uninsured for six months or more.

The primary reason that divorce affects a woman's health insurance status more than a man's is that women are more likely to be covered under a spouse's plan, since they are more likely to work part-time or in jobs that do not provide insurance benefits.

Having insurance benefits through an employer doesn't completely eliminate the risk to a woman's health, however. The University of Michigan study found that eleven percent of women who have their own employer-provided insurance coverage still end up uninsured after divorce. Researchers speculate this is because they are unable to afford the cost of the premium without the support of a spouse's income.

Moderate-income women are the hardest hit by divorce, because they earn too much to qualify for public insurance such as Medicaid but don't earn enough to buy insurance in the private marketplace. Older women are hit harder than younger women, since it is more expensive for them to purchase private policies that provide the level of coverage they need and harder for them to find new jobs that offer insurance benefits.

The provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that will go into effect in 2014 should help many women gain insurance coverage, but women who are currently in the middle of a divorce should still consider the cost of obtaining health insurance when discussing the terms of their divorce settlement. In some cases, a spouse may be required to provide insurance benefits as part of the terms of an alimony award.

How Can We Help?

If you are thinking of filing for divorce and need to find a qualified attorney, please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at Our skilled Pasadena matrimonial lawyers can help you obtain a settlement that will best allow you to move forward with the next stage of your life.