Older women who are divorced, separated or widowed or who have never married, have twice the uninsured rate of their married peers, a policy brief by the University of California, Los Angeles, Center for Health Policy Research, says.
Women between the ages of 50 and 64 are more prone than younger women to a wide range of health conditions, including asthma, diabetes and heart disease, the researchers said. Nearly four in 10 women in this age group will be diagnosed with high blood pressure, while nearly six in 10 are either obese or overweight.
In both cases, the percentages are higher than for younger women.
The researchers find the likelihood of having health insurance was related to a woman's marital status.
Using data from the 2007 California Health Interview Survey, lead author Roberta Wyn and colleagues found one-quarter of older women who had never married, and 21 percent of divorced, separated or widowed women were uninsured -- more than twice the rates of married women.
"These women have fewer coverage options, including access to family coverage, and Medicare is still several years away for many," Wyn said.