Coronavirus job crisis causes historic loss of health insurance

More than 5 million people lost coverage during the pandemic, data shows

The U.S. experienced a record surge in health insurance losses this year as millions of Americans lost their job during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Between February and May, a spike in unemployment caused 5.4 million people to lose health insurance coverage, according to data from Families USA. That increase is nearly 40 percent higher than any annual increase ever recorded.

The previous largest jump occurred between 2008 and 2009, when 3.9 million adults became uninsured.

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States, where more than 20 percent of nonelderly adults are uninsured, include Texas, Florida, Nevada, Georgia and Oklahoma.

More than 50 million people have filed unemployment claims since mid-March, which poses a problem since a majority of Americans obtain health insurance through their workplace.

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 55 percent of people had employer-based health care coverage in 2018. Another 8.5 percent of people had no health insurance at all during the timeframe.

There are options, however, if you find yourself without health care coverage, including buying a marketplace plan, applying for Medicaid or looking into COBRA coverage.

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While the U.S. economy began to show some early signs of recovery in May and June – when 2.5 million and 4.8 million jobs were created, respectively – experts are warning that the economy is far from out of the woods.

There is fear, for example, that the positive data could mask some underlying obstacles – including another wave of layoffs as states with a surge in confirmed cases pause, or scale back, tiered reopening plans.

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And even though more than 7 million jobs have been added over the past two months, the U.S. economy has only recovered about one-third of pandemic-related job losses.

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