Pension & Benefits News Health coverage insecurity rises along with COVID-19 job losses
Thursday, May 7, 2020

Health coverage insecurity rises along with COVID-19 job losses

By Pension and Benefits Editorial Staff

More than 22 million people in the U.S. have filed for unemployment benefits since the beginning of the coronavirus economic shutdown in March, and health care coverage insecurity has risen as well, according to recent research from the Commonwealth Fund. The study found that 41 percent of individuals who are currently dealing with employment insecurity also are experiencing health coverage insecurity.

In addition, working-age adults are worried about the potential cost of COVID-19 treatment. The survey found that 64 percent of adults age 18 and older said the potential out-of-pocket costs would be very or somewhat important in their decision to get care if they had symptoms of the coronavirus. Working-age adults under age 65 were more likely to say that these potential costs would be important in deciding whether to get care, compared to people 65 and older (69 percent vs. 45 percent). Potential costs were an important deciding factor in whether to get care among working-age adults with incomes under $50,000 (80 percent), those with a high school education or less (73 percent), and those whose jobs had been affected by the pandemic (77 percent).

Ninety percent of adults 18 and older said testing and treatment should be available to all Americans free of charge, including people who are uninsured. Nearly all adults who identify as Democrats (97 percent) and the vast majority who identify as Republicans (80 percent) hold this view, the Commonwealth Fund found.


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