Pension & Benefits News Survey assesses impact of COVID-19 pandemic on health insurance coverage
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Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Survey assesses impact of COVID-19 pandemic on health insurance coverage

By Pension and Benefits Editorial Staff

In an attempt to get an early look at how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected health insurance coverage, the Commonwealth Fund and survey research firm SSRS conducted a nationally representative telephone survey. According to the survey, there was still some relative stability in insurance coverage due to a large share of respondents who said they or a spouse or partner were still getting coverage through a furloughed job. However, the future of those furloughed jobs remains uncertain, making the long-term of the impact of the pandemic unclear.

Coverage. According to the survey, 21 percent of respondents who said they and/or their spouse or partner were working part-time or full-time on February 1, 2020, reported that they and/or their spouse or partner lost their job or were furloughed from their job as a result of the pandemic. Of those respondents who reported a furlough or job loss, two of five had health coverage through the affected job and one of five are now uninsured. Of those reporting coverage through an affected job, over half said they and/or their spouse or partner were still on an employer health plan during furlough.

The majority of adults who reported a job loss or furlough, indicated that no one had coverage through that job. One-quarter had coverage through a job not affected by the pandemic, including a spouse or partner’s job and more than one-third either had coverage through Medicare, Medicaid, or through a plan purchased through the individual market.

According to the Commonwealth Fund, when health coverage is not connected to a job, coverage and access to care can be more stable over time. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provides coverage options for people who don’t have, or lose, insurance through an employer-based plan, however switching plans after losing a job can mean losing access to preferred physicians and other providers. The Commonwealth Fund asked respondents whether people who get health insurance through an employer should have the option of getting similar coverage, at similar cost, through government-regulated and -subsidized health plans. Three-quarters of respondents indicated they believed people should have such an option.

SOURCE: www.commonwealthfund.org

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