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Women Losing Health Coverage After Divorce A Major Concern

One of the most important parts of the property division process when New Jersey couples divorce is how each spouse will continue to pay for expenses, including health care. This can also be included as part of the spousal support determination. But some alarming numbers from a national study show that many women may not be prepared to have their health care covered when they re-enter single life.

According to a study published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, approximately 115,000 lose their health insurance each year due to divorce. And more alarmingly, approximately more than half of those women remain without health insurance over a lengthy period of time. Covering an ex-spouse’s health benefits can be part of the division of assets process, if the couple were relying on one spouse’s work-provided benefits.

According to one of the study’s authors, 25 percent of women are covered by a family member’s health insurance, which means in the event of a divorce the coverage will likely end. According to the study, the number of women who went on Medicaid within six months of divorce nearly doubled compared to the rate of women covered by Medicaid before getting divorced.

The problem affects women worse because many women in long-term marriages never went back to work, making them reliant on a husband’s earnings and benefits. Covering health insurance could be made a part of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Spouses could agree to cover insurance for a certain length of time or until the ex-spouse finds new benefits after a divorce.

Source: Yahoo!, “115,000 Women a Year Lose Health Insurance Through Divorce,” Shari Roan, Dec. 14, 2012