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Divorce leaving women without health insurance

Women have made a lot of ground in the past decades, climbing the education and professional ladder and demanding more equality in pay. Even in divorce, statistics demonstrate that less men than ever are required to pay alimony while the number of female spouses in a separation paying alimony has risen significantly. Yet, one area that has failed to show promise has to do with health insurance.

The Journal of Health and Social Behavior completed a study recently that analyzed data, including information from the state of California, on women aged 26 to 64. The results indicate that over 115,000 women e very year lose their health insurance as a result of divorce. While many states like California strive to encourage equal property division in a separation, health insurance is not something that can be divvyed between the spouses.

According to experts, so many women lose their insurance because they are on their husband's employer's health plan. When the couple divorces, it is the employer's choice and not the court's to no longer cover the ex-spouse.

There is some speculation that the Affordable Care Act may provide a solution to this issue, but that remains to be seen. At the moment, women divorcing from a moderate income family are hit the hardest. Those women do not have access to the private health insurance that women from wealthier families do. They also do not have access to low income health care programs either.

In any divorce, the division of property can be a complicated matter. An experienced advocate is always an invaluable resource. Knowing the law in your state can ensure you receive the most equitable form of property division. Unfortunately, as previously mentioned, health insurance is not available for division.

Source: US News, "Divorce puts women at risk of losing health insurance, study finds," Nov. 16, 2012 

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John T. Chamberlin, Attorney at Law
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