An estimated 5.4 million Americans lost their health insurance within the first few months of 2020 amid mass layoffs during the coronavirus pandemic (The Independent). According to a study by Families USA, the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic crisis have caused the greatest health insurance losses in American history (The Hill). The estimated increase in uninsured workers from February to May was nearly 40 percent higher than the highest previous increase during the recession of 2008 (New York Times). The public health crisis also has stripped roughly 16 million workers and their families from employer-provided health plans, according to the Economic Policy Institute (The Independent)
Nearly half of the coverage losses occurred in five states: California, Texas, Florida, New York and North Carolina (The Hill). Those losing coverage could face staggering costs if they are struck by Covid-19, which has sent the seriously ill to hospital intensive care units (New York Times). Government officials have vowed to reimburse hospitals for the treatment of uninsured COVID-19 patients, but it is not clear how successful that program has been (The Hill). “Despite these historic coverage losses, no Covid-19 legislation yet signed into law has made a serious effort to protect comprehensive health insurance,” Families USA reported (The Independent).