University of Michigan Study Shows How Divorce Impacts Women’s Health Care Coverage

A new study by researchers at the University of Michigan finds that 115,000 women in the United States lose their health insurance coverage each year due to divorce. The data showed that women lose coverage because they are no longer a dependent of their husbands and many other divorced women lose coverage because they can no longer afford to pay their premiums. Furthermore, the data showed that women’s rate of health insurance coverage remained lower two years after their divorce.

Lead author of the study, Bridget Lavelle, a Ph.D. candidate in public policy and sociology at the University of Michigan and lead author of the study, stated, “Given that approximately one million divorces occur each year in the U.S., and that many women get health coverage through their husbands, the impact is quite substantial.” Lavelle adds that middle-income women often face the most difficult time after a divorce. “They are more likely than higher income women to lose private coverage and they have less access than lower-income women to public safety-net insurance programs.”

The research, which is published in the December issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, can be downloaded here.

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