On Monday, The New York Times reported that the coronavirus pandemic has caused 5.4 million Americans to lose their health insurance.
“As Sheryl Gay Stolberg reports, the study, to be released Tuesday by the nonpartisan consumer advocacy group Families U.S.A., found that the estimated increase in uninsured laid-off workers over the three-month period was nearly 40 percent higher than the highest previous increase, which occurred during the recession of 2008 and 2009,” said the Times. “In that period, 3.9 million adults lost insurance.”
“The study is a state-by-state examination of the effects of the pandemic on laid-off adults younger than 65, the age at which Americans become eligible for Medicare,” the report continued. “It found that nearly half — 46 percent — of the coverage losses from the pandemic came in five states: California, Texas, Florida, New York, and North Carolina.”
Millions of Americans are in a uniquely precarious position in this pandemic because they rely on their employer for their health insurance — and as the shutdowns trigger widespread layoffs, those people will lose their coverage.
The Trump administration refused to create a special enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act exchanges in March, which could have allowed at least some of the laid off workers to get new coverage if they found work with another employer that does not offer benefits — although some states have opted to create their own enrollment periods instead.