90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
Here and Now with Robin Young
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Friday, February 17, 2012

After Divorce, Women Risk Losing Health Insurance


Almost half of all U.S. marriages now end in divorce, but what happens after all the papers are signed and the property is sold?

A new study out of the University of Michigan finds that many women lose their health insurance after divorce.

Using 11 years of Census data, lead researcher Bridget Lavelle looked at health insurance levels before and after a divorce. She found that around 16 percent of women lose their health insurance within six months of divorce and live without it for another two years.

Other Key Findings

Lavelle found that the women who have the highest chance of losing their insurance are those who have too much money to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to purchase private coverage.


  • Bridget Lavelle, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Michigan’s Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and the study’s lead researcher

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Lucy Ryan

    Re. Bridget Lavelle’s study, I lost health insurance when I was informally separated because my husband simply told the insurer that we had a legal separation.  They asked for no proof and did not notify me, let alone ask me to verify the information.  I found out when a Dr’s bill for the full amount of treatment arrived, listing me as uninsured.

    In the end, the rules helped me win the divorce my husband did not want to cooperate with.  I forced the insurance Co. to reinstate me and my husband found that the only way to legally stop paying for my coverage was to agree to the divorce.  Fortunately, I was able to buy coverage under a group plan through my job (this was 20+ years ago). 

    Separating myself from said husband’s bad credit rating was even more difficult and is another (much longer) story.

    Thanks for your informative programs!

    Lucy Ryan (716) 626-0402
    Buffalo, NY
    WNED 970 a.m.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

July 30 Comment

As War And Conflicts Proliferate, Children Become Unwary Victims And Targets

Kids have always suffered during war and crisis, but there's a sense the burden of instability is being increasingly borne by children.

July 30 3 Comments

California Drought: A Central Valley Farmer’s Experience

Last month was the hottest June on Earth since records began in 1880, making the West Coast drought even harder for farmers.

July 29 14 Comments

U.S. ‘Border Crisis’ In A Global Context

Bill Frelick of Human Rights Watch says what the U.S. is seeing is dwarfed by the massive flow of refugees into other countries, such as Italy.

July 29 4 Comments

Iraq War Vet Returns To A Broken Country

Roy Scranton says what he found in Baghdad "shows the evidence of the truth of what we'd actually done."