DIVORCED WOMEN AT RISK FOR LOSING HEALTH INSURANCE

3 As they pick up the pieces of their life after a divorce, many women find themselves without Health Insurance, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of Michigan have found that approximately 115,000 U.S. women lose Health coverage each year as the result of a divorce, and that 65,000 still lack insurance months or even years later. This is because typically women's incomes drop significantly after a divorce.

The study exposes another aspect of the precarious financial position facing many recently divorced women, too - there is significant evidence that single people are generally not as healthy as married people. Medical expenses were a major factor of 62% of personal bankruptcy filings in 2008.

According to the study, moderate-income women are more vulnerable to losing coverage than their low-income and high-income sisters. That's because low-income women can qualify for Medicaid, while high-income women can usually afford to purchase coverage.

Moderate-income women who are dependents under their spouses' employer-sponsored Health insurance are especially at risk. If you're facing divorce and depend on coverage under your husband's plan, consider these options:

  • Sign up for coverage at work if your employer offers it.
  • Sign up for COBRA. Under the Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act, if your employer has at least 20 workers, you can continue coverage through your ex-spouse's plan for up to 36 months after divorce. However, be prepared for sticker shock - you'll have to pay the premiums.
  • Shop for an individual Health insurance plan.
  • See whether you qualify for a government health plan, such as Medicaid. If you have a pre-existing condition, check out the federal Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan.
  • If you're self-employed, find out if your business can qualify for a small-group Health plan.
For more information, please feel free to get in touch with us.
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