Divorce causes a significant amount of emotional, mental, and physical stress, especially when a divorce is particularly caustic. With all the items that need to be decided on for a divorce settlement, as well as the uncertainty of the final result of a divorce, it may be difficult to ensure that all of your needs properly addressed. In fact, health insurance coverage is one of the many particulars that ends up getting lost in the middle of a divorce settlement.
Study Sheds Light on Loss of Coverage for Many Women Post-Divorce
A recent study, conducted by the University of Michigan and published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, evaluated women between the ages of 26 and 64 and found that overall, women’s insurance coverage dropped and remained low for more than two years after the end of a marriage. Additionally, it was estimated that nationwide, 115,000 women annually lose their private health insurance coverage as a result of a divorce. This is a significant number of women who are living post-divorce life without the protection that they would have had had they remained married.
Why Are Many Women Losing Coverage?
Because a significant number of women receive their health insurance coverage under the plans of their husbands, women who divorce their partners end up no longer qualifying as dependents of the insurance plans or may not be able to pay the premiums for other private health insurance options.
It is estimated that almost one-fourth of women who were covered under the insurance policies of their husbands’ employers were no longer covered six months after a divorce. A divorce even affects coverage for women who are insured by plans from their own employers as they may no longer—due to their financial hardship post-divorce—be able to afford this coverage either.
The study goes further and shows that women who are in the middle/moderate-income bracket suffer the most because they cannot pay the insurance premiums of private insurers, but they do make enough income to not qualify for public coverage. The Affordable Care Act, as currently in place, is attempting to reach this middle-ground population. However, with the Act still in its infancy and at the epicenter of debate, its effectiveness is still in question.
Protect Yourself, Protect Your Coverage
There are several ways that you can protect yourself from ending up in this type of situation post-divorce.
At the start of the initial divorce proceedings, begin to think about what your financial circumstances will look like after a divorce. Once you have a range of estimates for what your divorce settlement will look like, start to investigate plans (or look into the coverage offered by your employer if applicable) that may fit with your post-divorce financial situation.
If you are aware of pre-existing health concerns, medical costs and expenditures may be projected and could be negotiated into your final divorce settlement. It may be a possibility that your projected medical costs could be provided for as part of your alimony, thus providing a cushion to investigate further your insurance coverage options.
Speak with a financial advisor or insurance adviser about the myriad of options that may be available, including the Affordable Care Act provisions, COBRA, your own employer’s plan (or the availability of a plan after a certain number of days at a new job), and other government programs (if you are turning 65, you are eligible for Medicare).
Family Law Attorneys in DuPage County
Health insurance coverage at the time of the divorce proceedings may seem like the last issue on your mind. However, it is important to protect yourself, especially once the post-divorce flames have been extinguished. An experienced DuPage County family law attorney at Mevorah Law Offices LLC will be able to provide you with all the necessary guidance and bring to your attention the several issues you may face during and after divorce proceedings. Contact Mevorah Law Offices LLC today to schedule a confidential consultation.
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