How many people have lost their insurance because of obamacare

These estimates were current as of May 14, 2020. Please refer to current estimates.

We estimate that 3.5 million workers were at high risk of losing employer-provided health insurance in the past two weeks. Because the United States is unique among wealthy countries in linking health insurance benefits to employment, roughly half of all the United States. workers receive health insurance through coverage provided by their own employer; many of the newly unemployed will suddenly be faced with prohibitively expensive insurance options. The link between specific jobs and the availability of health insurance is a major source of inefficiency and inequity in the United States. Health System. it is especially frightening for workers to lose their health insurance as a result of and during an ongoing pandemic.

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Last week and this week saw a historically large number of workers file initial claims for unemployment insurance (ui) benefits due to layoffs (or furloughs or reductions in hours) related to the economic impact of the coronavirus and the associated “social distancing” measures. . the 8.7 million new claims (not seasonally adjusted) in the last two weeks represent about 5.9% of total employment over the last year, 2.5 times more than any previous two-week period on record.

This scale of job loss will obviously cause great distress to affected workers and their families. One aspect of this distress will be the likely loss of employer-provided health insurance (EPHI). most older people in the united states who have health insurance get it through their own employer or through the employer-sponsored plan that was available to someone in their family. when jobs are lost, so is this primary source of health insurance coverage.

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Using new industry ui claims from washington state, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the united states, we can provide a very rough estimate of the number of workers at high risk of losing health insurance they had through from your own employer due to layoffs (or furloughs or reductions in hours) related to the coronavirus. We can’t say exactly how many people will lose insurance coverage for various reasons. For example, some workers who lose EPHI due to layoffs or reductions in hours that trigger UI claims may be able to obtain coverage through health care exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or through Medicaid. Some of this group may also be able to obtain continuation coverage through Cobra, paying the full cost of their Ephi coverage out of pocket. Some workers may get coverage through other family members, or if they only experience a temporary layoff or reduced hours, their employers may continue to pay for coverage. on the other hand, our calculations could underestimate the loss of health insurance coverage because they do not take into account family members who are no longer covered due to the termination of the policy holder. And because not all layoffs result in unemployment claims, we will underestimate the true magnitude of job losses.

Those caveats aside, we found that 3.5 million workers were at high risk of losing ephi due to coronavirus-related layoffs in the past two weeks. most ephi plans are monthly, so it is likely that the 1st of april (yesterday) saw most of these losses occur. policymakers should think hard about how to help these workers. A quick and minor fix that would provide short-term relief would be for the federal government to allow a special enrollment period for Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges in the 38 states that rely on the federal government to run their exchanges. Eleven of the 12 states that run their own exchanges (and the District of Columbia) have already allowed such a special enrollment period. The federal government (and Idaho, the only roadblock between state exchanges) should do the same. this special enrollment period would make it easier for workers who have lost ephi to quickly enroll on aca exchanges.

At a minimum, all covid-19 related care should be covered by the federal government at no cost to patients. however, we also need to think about how to exempt from liability workers who lose ephi due to covid-19 and then face expensive medical bills due to other health ailments that would have been covered by their previous employer’s plan. A bolder and more comprehensive policy would be to extend Medicare and Medicaid to all those who suffered job losses during the pandemic period, with the federal government funding this expansion. Finally, we must strengthen general measures to provide relief and stimulate economic recovery once the economic effects of the epidemic wear off.

Below, we document how we made our estimate of 3.5 million workers at high risk of losing ephi due to recent layoffs.


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To calculate potential losses from employer-provided health insurance, we first calculated national industry-specific proportions of employer-provided health insurance coverage rates using data from the March Current Population Survey. 2018, limiting the sample to those who worked in the private sector. sector or government during the previous year.

From the national industry-specific proportions in table 1, we assume that if, say, there were 100 initial ui claims filed in a state’s “utility” sector, so that represents 100 job losses (or reductions in hours (which can trigger ui claims in most but not all states), and 77 of those workers lost employer-provided health insurance, because the rate of ephi coverage in this sector is 77.1%.

To estimate initial UI claims by state and industry, we used industry-specific initial claims data from the state of Washington for the week ending March 21. Washington was hit early by the COVID-19 crisis and implemented several economic restrictions before March 21, including statewide bans on large gatherings and the closure of all sit-down restaurants.

washington had a total of 133,478 initial ui claims for the week ending March 21. The industry-specific data provided by the state does not assign industries to each claim, so we proportionately scaled the available industry data to add up to the total number of initial claims in Washington. Table 2 combines the sector-specific ui claims in washington with the national ephi ratios from table 1 and provides the total job losses and jobs lost with ephi.

Table 2 also expresses the total job loss in an industry as a share of that industry’s employment in Washington for the previous year, calculated using the most recent QCEW data for 2018Q4-2019Q3. To extend the analysis to other states, we apply this industry-specific job loss ratio to the industry-specific job totals of all other states, and then proportionately scale these losses so that each state’s total job loss is equal to your unadjusted seasonal state total. initial ui claims for the two weeks ending march 21 and 28. Therefore, these estimates distribute state-specific UI claims to industries in a way that represents labor market data from the early and intense shock of COVID-19 in Washington State and accounts for each industry mix. of the state before the epidemic. In addition, the calculation allows us to incorporate the variation in ephi between industries by estimating the national proportion of workers at high risk of losing ephi due to recent layoffs (table 3).

Finally, we can do the same exercise of using washington’s ui claims by industry to allocate job losses to industries in each state, and then derive the likely number of workers losing ephi (based on national proportions). of workers in each industry to receive efi). We show these results in figure a. Unsurprisingly, the most affected states are those with a high proportion of workers in lodging and food services, such as Nevada.

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