health insurance

The primary finding of the study suggests that the more a married couple depends on one another, in this case for health insurance, the less likely they are to divorce. This lower divorce risk is true more often for women than for men.

In the study Health Insurance and Risk of Divorce: Does Having Your Own Insurance Matter the authors tested the following hypotheses: 1) Married individuals who are insured through their spouse’s health plans have lower divorce rates 2) not having an employment-based source of health insurance coverage outside of marriage further lowers the risk of divorce for people enrolled in their spouse’s plan 3) women who are insured through their spouses have lower rates of divorce than men who are insured through their spouses 4) not having an alternative source of health insurance outside the marriage lowers the divorce risk for women more so than for men. The study used the 2004 panel of the SIPP, a nationally representative series of longitudinal panels. Data from the 2004 panel spanned approximate 4 years. The total study sample consisted of 17, 388 individuals.

Findings of Interest:

  • 44% of married women and 16% of married men were insured as dependents.
  • Married individuals insured on their spouses’ plans were less likely to divorce or separate than individuals covered under their own policies
  • Individuals insured under a spouse’s plan with the option for an employer-sponsored health plan was significantly higher than for those who were insured under their own names.
  • Without access to employee-sponsored healthcare plans individuals insured under their spouse’s plan where significantly less likely to be divorced.
  • No gender differences emerged for women vs. men insured through spouses. The risk of divorce for women insured under their spouses was not statistically different from the risk of divorce for dependent men.
  • Women insured by their spouses, but who had access to employment-based health plans outside of their marriage had great risk of divorce than spouse-insured women who did not have access to a health plans outside of their marriage.
  • Spouse-insured women who did not have an employment-based health plan option outside of married had lower risk of divorce than their male counterparts.


The provision of insurance by a spouse may function as a deterrent to marital disruption in conjunction with income and employment, also economic predictors of divorce.

Increased dependency on one’s spouse for health insurance led to diminished risk of divorce and/or separation.

FILED UNDER: health insurance