November 14, 2012, 11:40 AM
By Daniel Akst
Shedding light on the issues of divorce and health care, a new University of Michigan study estimates that 65,000 American women become uninsured each year as a result of marital dissolution.
Indeed, among married women who had health insurance and then divorced, 17 percent were uninsured six months later. There was also a big shift among divorced women from private insurance to public insurance, such as Medicaid. After divorce an estimated 115,000 women each year lose private coverage, the study reported, but many are bailed out by government programs.
The loss of insurance was especially prevalent among divorced women who’d been covered as dependents on their husband’s health insurance. In this group, 23 percent were uninsured six months after divorce. Another risk-factor for ending up without coverage: being too affluent for government insurance programs but not affluent enough to afford costly private coverage.
By way of perspective, last year about 48.6 million people were uninsured, the Census Bureau has reported.