In Sickness and for Health Insurance

Health benefit concerns force couples into marriage and divorce
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 13, 2008 9:08 AM CDT
Some lower-income couples, finding themselves unable to afford expensive drugs or operations, are being forced to consider divorcing to qualify for medical benefits.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
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(Newser) – Health insurance worries are pushing a growing number of Americans both into and out of marriages, the New York Times reports. Couples in which one party has better health benefits are marrying hastily as medical needs outweigh any doubts about each other. One survey this year found health insurance was a major factor in 7% of weddings, and one wedding chapel owner says 1 in 10 couples come before him for health reasons.

Other couples are faced with a terrible dilemma when divorcing becomes the only way to qualify for subsidized health care. “Nobody should have to make a choice like that,” said one woman who, before a relative helped with cash, almost had to divorce her husband to get a life-saving liver transplant. “What happened to our country? I don’t remember growing up like this."