5.4 Million Americans Lost Employer-Based Health Insurance Due to Pandemic

A study released by the nonpartisan consumer advocacy group Families USA estimates that 5.4 million American workers lost their employer-based health insurance between February and May due to the coronavirus pandemic. This increase was nearly 40% higher than the surge in uninsured Americans that occurred during the recession of 2008 and 2009, when 3.9 million adults lost health insurance.

The results come from a state-by-state examination of laid-off adults under the age of 65, when Americans become eligible for Medicare. Nationally, more than 1 in 7 adults, or 16%, are now uninsured, according to the analysis. Nearly one-half (46%) of the coverage losses came from five states: California, Texas, Florida, New York, and North Carolina.

Similar studies have looked at the peripheral effects of these insurance losses. Recently, the Kaiser Family Foundation estimated that 27 million Americans lost coverage in the pandemic, including family members of adults who lost their employer insurance. Another analysis from the Urban Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation projected that by the end of 2020, 10.1 million people will no longer have employer-sponsored health insurance because of pandemic-related job losses.

Definitive data on how many total insurance losses occurred due to the pandemic will not become available until 2021, when total health insurance estimates for 2020 are published by the federal government.

Source: The New York Times, July 13, 2020.