As workers across the country have been laid off, they’ve also been losing their medical coverage.
Employees across the country who had been enjoying employer sponsored health insurance are suddenly finding themselves without a plan as the coronavirus causes millions of layoffs.
In many states, the rates of uninsured residents are jumping from single to double digits.
As though losing a job wasn’t enough as pandemic prevention efforts continue to hold in place, many Americans who had been covered through employer sponsored health insurance are losing their coverage, too. This has become a common story in states across the country, with many counties suffering particularly damaging outcomes. This is sending stress levels skyward in individuals and families alike.
In Washington state, for instance, there had been 521,764 uninsured residents just before the COVID-19 pandemic came to the state. By the close of April, that figure had spiked to almost 800,000 and that number is only expected to rise. The highest increase in that state was measured in Snohomish County where the percentage of uninsured residents has skyrocketed from 7 percent to 13 percent.
Employer sponsored health insurance coverage has become a serious casualty of the pandemic.
Over half the newly unemployed residents of the state are not covered by health insurance. Considering the nature of the current emergency, this places a lot of additional stress on free clinics and emergency rooms at a time when they would already be at a serious risk of overloading.
This will be particularly difficult on people who need to see specialists but who will be required to join a months-long line. Many in the medical industry are very concerned about the risks patients will face when their wait times are that long. The reason is that longer people must wait for important tests or surgeries, the greater the risk of adverse incomes.
Janet Varon from Northwest Law Advocates has also cautioned that as more people head to clinics because they are unable to pay for their health care, this could reduce the number of clinics able to afford to provide free care. “Right now providers are being very heroic and we owe it to them to support them in every way we can,” she said. “This probably means additional revenue to continue the system to the extent possible.”
This crisis is continuing to take its toll on the country, and as more Americans lose their employer sponsored health insurance, anxiety and depression from both patients and care providers are rapidly climbing.