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Financial issues for divorcing women include loss of insurance

Rhode Island women and men who are going through a divorce may have several concerns about finances, including interruption of their health care coverage. A recent university study reports that 115,000 women each year lose their health insurance coverage due to a divorce.

This is because many women have their health care coverage through their husband's employer's policy. Of course, some men also have their health coverage through their wives. The study, however, found that divorce disproportionately affects the health care access of divorced women.

When women divorce they no longer qualify as dependents on their husband's policies and they lose their coverage. Some of these women have no other source of income and cannot afford to pay the premiums of private insurance. The study showed that these women often remain without health care coverage for more than two years.

Women who have their own coverage through an employer are less likely to face the stress of lost insurance, but sometimes can still be affected. The financial hardships of divorce can make it difficult for some employed women to meet their ordinary needs including expenses related to their share of an employer's health insurance plan.

Women most affected by loss of insurance after divorces are those from moderate income families. Higher income women may be able to keep private coverage and low-income women may qualify for public insurance plans. Women with higher education and who work full time are less likely to suffer from loss of insurance, but women who only work part time are often affected because part-time jobs usually do not provide insurance.

The researchers suggest that the Affordable Care Act may help to remedy some of the insurance loss suffered by divorcing women.

Financial considerations, such as the loss of health care, need to be carefully considered during divorce proceedings. At times, couples and their attorneys can work to create a settlement that ensures everyone's financial stability.

Source: Red Orbit, "For Thousands of Women, Costs Of Divorce Include Health Coverage," Alan McStravick, Nov. 13, 2012

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