About 48 million people in the United States are expected to become part of a household that has lost a job due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new analysis based on an assessment of pandemic-related job losses over the last nine months prepared by researchers at the Urban Institute with funding provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Prior to the pandemic, those who experienced a job loss within their family either had insurance through another family member’s job (34%) or through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (27%). About one-fifth (10.1 million) of those people had insurance tied to the job they lost due to COVID-19.
“The COVID-19 recession has disproportionately affected the lowest paid workers, who are the least likely to have work-based health insurance,” Katherine Hempstead, senior policy advisor at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said. “The loss of jobs and coverage associated with the pandemic is a huge test for our safety net, but it may not be the inflection point for the employer market that many predicted.”
By the end of the year, researchers estimated of the 10.1 million who will no longer have employer-sponsored health insurance, 3.3 million will regain it by being added to a family member’s policy, 2.8 million will enroll in Medicaid and 600,000 will enroll in the individual market.
In all, 3.5 million people are estimated to become uninsured.