20% unemployment in the USA will mean 37 million uninsured

43 million Americans could lose their health insurance in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute.

160 million Americans under the age of 65 had health insurance through their employer just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Thirty million workers filed for unemployment between March 15 and April 25, according to federal statistics. Rising unemployment is expected to significantly alter the health insurance coverage landscape, as millions who lose their jobs and their dependents enrol in Medicaid, purchase ACA Marketplace cover, or become uninsured.

Researchers estimate how the predicted 20% unemployment in the coming months could affect health insurance cover.

Findings include:

  • 25 to 43 million people could lose their employer sponsored health insurance cover.
  • More than half of the newly jobless will obtain Medicaid cover, the public health insurance programme for low-income people, in states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), while only about one-third will receive Medicaid coverage in the 15 states that have not expanded the programme.
  • Less than a quarter of these workers and their dependants in expansion states will become uninsured, while 40% in non-expansion states will become uninsured.
  • Of those who lose employer-based insurance, an estimated 7 million Americans will remain uninsured, and will lack access to healthcare during the pandemic.
    Another 30 million people lacked insurance even before the pandemic.