A new report from the National Bureau of Economic Research shows that the recession of 2007-2009 had a major impact on the number of adults who had health insurance in the U.S. The report notes that the recession was the most severe and disruptive financial crisis faced by the U.S. in recent history. The economic impact of the crisis was widely felt and its affects linger today. In the health insurance industry, the recession claimed more than 9 million health care policies, leaving former policyholders without insurance coverage for the duration of the crisis.
Of the millions that lost their health care coverage in the recession, adults between the ages of 50 and 64 were hardest hit. As unemployment rates rose, so too did the rate of those without insurance. For every 1% increase in unemployment, the likelihood of an adult not being insured rose by 1.67%, according to the report. Even for those that did not lose their jobs, health insurance was not a guarantee, as employers made sharp cuts to the benefits they offered employees.
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The report notes that the Affordable Care Act will have a positive impact on the insurance industry overall. The health care law may ensure that people will still have health insurance coverage even if they do not have jobs. In this case, a high unemployment rate may no longer mean that health insurance coverage is scarce.