More Than 5 Million Have Lost Health Insurance Due to Coronavirus: Study
Health Care

More Than 5 Million Have Lost Health Insurance Due to Coronavirus: Study

Flickr / Alex Proimos

About 5.4 million workers who lost their jobs between February and May are now uninsured, according a new analysis from Families USA, a nonpartisan consumer health advocacy organization.

The increase in the number of uninsured surpasses the annual record set during the recession in 2008, when 3.9 million workers lost their health insurance, the group said Tuesday. Nearly half of the losses (46%) came in just five states: California, Texas, Florida, New York and North Carolina.

No definitive numbers yet. The Families USA analysis provides an estimate based on current data, and we won’t have official numbers until next year, when the federal government publishes its own analysis of insurance coverage for 2020. Other groups have provided estimates, as well. The Kaiser Family Foundation says that about 27 million people have lost health insurance coverage, a considerably larger number that includes family members of the formerly insured. And the Urban Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released a study that estimates that about 10.1 million people will lose employer-provided coverage by the end of the year due to the coronavirus.

More than one in seven now lack insurance. About 16% of Americans are now uninsured, Families USA estimates, and many of the states experiencing spikes in the coronavirus have higher levels of uninsured residents. In Texas, 29% of adults under the age of 65 are uninsured, while in Florida the number is 25%.

Why it matters. The loss of health insurance is by definition bad news, but it’s even more so in the middle of a national health crisis. “This is particularly problematic during a pandemic involving a highly infectious, deadly disease, especially in states that are allowing residents to be in closer personal contact by attempting to reopen their economies – often the same states that are now experiencing significant spikes in COVID-19 infection rates,” the group said.