Studies have shown that many women end up without health insurance after divorce. If you are a female facing divorce, you should take a look at why you may be at risk of losing health coverage. You should also learn some of your options if you want to stay covered by insurance.
Why Are Women More Affected Than Men?
In many cases, women are covered by their husband's health insurance while they are married. This is often because they are either a stay-at-home mom or not working full time, so they cannot get their own coverage. After divorce, the children are often covered by insurance from one parent because it is usually included in the parenting agreement, which means men and kids rarely face the same lack of health coverage as women do after divorce.
Once you get divorced, you are not usually allowed to continue on your husband's insurance plan because it only extends to spouses and children. Even if you have your own plan through your own job, note that many women have reduced income after divorce and can no longer afford extras, which you might consider your health insurance if you have to pay a lot for it each month.
What Are the Options for Divorced Women?
Many women end up going without health insurance for years after divorce because they just can't afford it. This can result in neglected health, so unless you can afford to pay for medical costs out of pocket, you should try to get coverage.
Of course, getting a full time job is one of the fastest ways to get your own health insurance if you lost coverage due to divorce. If you currently work part-time, you can find out if you can work full-time instead if possible, in which case you should be eligible for benefits. If coverage is not available through your job, or if you cannot work, you should look for a basic individual health insurance plan.
You can also find out if your husband can pay for COBRA from work, which extends your health coverage for up to three years after divorce. Just realize it is quite expensive since you will have to pay the portion the employer typically pays. You may need to include this cost in your divorce agreement if your husband will be paying it since it is a major expense that may affect alimony, child support, or asset division.
If you cannot afford health insurance anymore, you can consider applying to Medicaid as long as your income is low. The income requirements vary from one state to another, so you should check with your state to find out if you qualify.
If none of these options work for you, it may be best to wait until 2014 when changes to the healthcare system are supposed to go into effect. You might find you have access to the healthcare you are currently missing. If you want to know more about how divorce may affect your health insurance situation, call Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C. since we have handled countless divorce cases that involved issues like this one.