How Health Benefits Can Influence Marriage, Divorce Decisions

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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With affordable health insurance "out of reach for many" U.S. residents, some couples have considered marriage, divorce or delaying a divorce as a way to attain or maintain health coverage, the New York Times reports. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll conducted earlier this year found 7% of respondents said someone in their household had gotten married in the past year to obtain health insurance.

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The Foundation cautions that the number should not be taken literally, but rather as an intriguing indicator that some U.S. residents "are making major life decisions on the basis of health care concerns.'" The Times also reports that some people are delaying divorces to stay on their spouse's health care plan. The article profiles several couples who have married so that one partner could obtain health coverage. The article also profiles a couple who considered a divorce so that the wife would qualify for subsidized health coverage through the Washington State Health Insurance Pool for a potential liver transplant (Sack, New York Times, 8/13).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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