Pandemic Causing Millions to Lose Health Insurance: Report

A lot of people– more than 3 million — are going to lose their health insurance this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to data provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute. As many as 10 million individuals are going to lose their employer-sponsored health insurance, as well, creating a lot more medical debt on the horizon.

About 48 million people are part of families with a worker who will lose his or her job because of COVID-19, according to the research. Some people who lose their jobs will be lucky enough to pick up healthcare coverage from another family member, by enrolling in Medicaid, or picking up coverage on their own, but for millions of people, those options will not be available and they will be left without any health insurance.

While the healthcare industry has suffered mightily because of the coronavirus pandemic, such a spike in the number of patients without medical insurance is likely to exacerbate the financial strains that providers have been feeling in recent months due to a drop in the number of patients and an increased focus on addressing the pandemic.

Similar to a report published earlier that highlighted how the pandemic is affecting individuals at the lower end of the wage scale, this report is another illustration of how how the pandemic has disproportionately affected people with low incomes and low education levels.

“The COVID-19 recession appears to differ dramatically from previous ones in its sudden and disproportionate effects on certain sectors of the economy while other sectors are unchanged,” the researchers wrote. “Employment losses are also unlike previous recessions, hitting workers with low wages and low educational levels more severely than others. These workers are less likely to have employer-based coverage through their jobs and more likely to be enrolled in Medicaid before the pandemic than other workers..”

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