Women risk losing health insurance after a divorce

On behalf of Loughmiller Higgins, Attorneys at Law posted in Divorce on Friday, January 4, 2013.

Texas women who are facing divorce should be aware of the risk of losing health insurance coverage. While this may seem like a minor detail in the face of child custody or property division concerns, losing one’s existing health insurance coverage can create a number of substantial financial problems in the years following the divorce. As a result, the financial arrangement negotiated in one’s divorce should address the issue of health insurance, and incorporate those costs into the final settlement.

A study recently published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior asserts that as many as 115,000 women lose their health insurance every year due to divorce. Even more disturbing is the estimate that around 65,000 of those women will remain uninsured for lengthy periods of time. Many of these women will lose their coverage because they will no longer qualify as a dependent on their husband’s employment benefits.

Going without health insurance is never optimal. However, research suggests that individuals experience poor health after divorce, and that women are more likely than men to suffer financial hardship after a divorce is final. This combination could leave many women without health coverage at the time they need it the most, and when they are least able to absorb the cost of obtaining new coverage. This is not to mention the financial devastation that could arise from an unexpected illness or injury while uninsured.

The best way to address this risk involves careful planning. When considering the structure of one’s financial arrangement in a divorce proceeding, it is imperative to factor in all projected costs. The cost of obtaining or continuing health care coverage should be included in the budgeting process, in order to give a clear picture of all projected expenses. Once a Texas divorce is final, all parties will be bound to the provisions contained within those final documents.

Source: TakePart.com, “115,000 Women a Year Lose Health Insurance Through Divorce,” Shari Roan, Dec. 14, 2012

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