Divorce And Insurance: Many Women Lose Private Health Insurance Post-Split

11/13/2012 06:36 pm ET | Updated Nov 14, 2012

Divorce strips thousands of women of health insurance coverage every year, according to a new study by the University of Michigan.

About 115,000 women in the U.S. lose their private health insurance each year in the wake of divorce, the study found, largely because they no longer qualify as dependents under their partners' policies or because they have trouble paying premiums for private insurance.

Many women who lost their coverage remained uninsured for more than two years following their splits, according to the researchers, who analyzed data from women between the ages of 26 and 64 from 1996 through 2007.

“Given that approximately one million divorces occur each year in the U.S. and that many women get health coverage through their husbands, the impact is quite substantial,” said Bridget Lavelle, a University of Michigan Ph.D. candidate in public policy and sociology and lead author of the study, in a press release.

The findings are set to appear in the December issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

So what can divorcing women -- and men -- do to maintain health coverge after divorce? In May, financial strategist Jeffrey A. Landers reminded HuffPost Divorce readers that once a divorce is finalized, ex-spouses are eligible for continued health insurance coverage in most employers' plans under a Federal law known as COBRA.

Still, keep in mind that COBRA is temporary and lasts only up to 36 months, Landers said. "My advice would be to get your own health insurance as soon as possible because if you develop a condition while on COBRA, a new insurance plan may see it as a pre-existing condition and either not insure you or only do so with much higher premiums," Landers wrote.

Click through the slideshow below to read about more recent research on the intersection of divorce and finances.

Poverty And Divorce

Also on HuffPost:

CONVERSATIONS