Coronavirus: 5.4 million Americans lose health insurance due to economic crash

July 14, 2020

The loss in insurance is tied to the rise in unemployment due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The number of uninsured adults in the U.S. has ballooned by 5.4 million due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and ensuing economic crash.

According to a new report from The National Center for Coverage Innovation, the rise in patients losing insurance is tied to job losses between February and May 2020 when millions were laid off due to stay-at-home orders across the country tied to the pandemic. It is 39 percent higher than any annual increase in the uninsured rate ever recorded. Previously, the highest annual jump was seen between 2008 and 2009 in which 3.9 million nonelderly adults lost their insurance.

“The greatest public health crisis in a century has caused the deepest economic crash since World War II,” the report says. “In a few short months, millions of workers lost their jobs. At least 16 million of them simultaneously lost access to health insurance formerly furnished by their employers.”

The report says that five states account for 46 percent of the increase: California, Texas, Florida, New York, and North Carolina. This makes eight states where 20 percent or more adults are uninsured:

  • Texas (29 percent)
  • Florida (25 percent)
  • Oklahoma (24 percent)
  • Georgia (23 percent)
  • Mississippi (22 percent)
  • Nevada (21 percent)
  • North Carolina (20 percent)
  • South Carolina (20 percent)

Of the above listed states, all but Oklahoma are among the 15 states with the country’s highest spike in new COVID-19 coronavirus cases during the week ending July 12, the report says.

Currently no federal CODI-19 relief bill signed into law has attempted to correct this loss of comprehensive health insurance despite the connection between insurance and improved health outcomes, limited financial insecurity, and economic recovery, the report says.

According to the report, two pieces of legislation passed by the House of Representatives, the HEROES Act and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act, would have a positive impact on the uninsured populace, but the Senate can build on these acts by providing significant funding.