Almost 27M Americans lost job-based health insurance, says Kaiser Family Foundation

Job-based health insurance - Man studying graph on tablet
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The employer sponsored coverage has been plummeting due to pandemic related layoffs.

Almost 27 million people across the country may no longer have their job-based health insurance, says a new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation. This report pointed to the widespread layoffs occurring as a result of the coronavirus pandemic as the cause.

The report, released on Wednesday, underscored a substantial problem in medical coverage.

Many of those who have lost their job-based health insurance now find themselves uninsured. That said, less than half – about 12.7 million people – may be eligible for Medicaid. Moreover, another 8.4 million may qualify to receive subsidized health plans through the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces. That said, the report underscored that it is up to those individuals to know their options and enroll in that coverage.

Still, even if every American knew his or her options and did successfully enroll in a new health plan, it would leave 5.7 million people uninsured, when they had previously had coverage through an employer. If these individuals want to obtain a plan to cover them, they will need to enroll and take on the full expense of the premiums throughout the year. For people who have recently found themselves to be unemployed, this type of added expense may prove to be prohibitively costly.

There are still options for those who have lost their job-based health insurance, but they are expensive.

People who have lost their employer sponsored coverage can still look to COBRA to be able to ensure they keep up their current plan level. However, individuals who pursue that path will be required to pay the entire premium, including what had previously been paid by their employer. Again, for many newly unemployed individuals, this may prove too expensive to be able to afford.

According to a CNN report, the average annual premium for a single person is $7,188, and the average premium for a family of four is $20,576. Without a subsidy from the government and without an employer to cover part of that premium, it is unlikely that the majority of newly unemployed people will be able to take on that full amount.

Job-based health insurance - Man studying graph on tabletThis places that group of people who have lost their job-based insurance at a high risk of becoming completely uninsured, said the report.

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