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New Hampshire residents showed up to testify in favor of new legislation that would extend health insurance coverage to spouses whose coverage is threatened when their marriage ends.
Currently, spouses can purchase extended health care coverage under their ex-spouse’s policy for up to three years, but critics argue that the high cost of these policies often prevents their continuation.
What Advocates Say
One woman, a mother and part-time educator, said she has been covered under her husband’s policy but now that they’re divorcing, that coverage is jeopardized.
“While I wait to see if this will happen, I stand vulnerable and alone in a system that has offered know allies,” she said.
Women, however, are not the only ones affected by potential loss of health insurance. Another New Hampshire resident testified that he was forced to drop coverage for himself and his daughter because the cost of continuing under COBRA was three times more expensive than the couple’s mutual insurance.
“This bill in not gender specific,” he said. “Both men and women are caught in rising problems with health-care access.”
The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Martha Fuller Clark, would enable divorced spouses to continue their coverage under their ex-spouse’s policy for an indefinite period of time or until they marry again.
Opponents of the bill, particularly insurance companies, insist that it will result in higher costs for employers, but Sen. Fuller Clark said allowing ex-spouses to live without health insurance only increases the long-term burden on taxpayers.
“It’s the right thing to do for health care, the right thing to do for the uninsured and the right thing to do for our state,” she said.
(Source: The Citizen of Laconia)
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