Health insurance uninsured rates are especially important to analyze and understand during the current COVID-19 crisis. By identifying areas of unemployment and potentially uninsured, we can better understand the individuals who are in the most need.
ValuePenguin decided to take a deep dive into understanding this and evaluating how the current landscape will affect the uninsured population.
Uninsured rates by state
Among the elderly, the highest health insurance uninsured rate is in Texas (1.9%)
Additionally, Nevada (1.4%), Virginia (1.1%) and Utah (1.0%) have above-average uninsured rates among seniors over the age of 65.
Uninsured rates among seniors are especially concerning since this age group is the most at risk for disease and may require additional specialized care.
Additionally, during the current coronavirus crisis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has pointed out that seniors and individuals with health conditions are the most at risk.
|State||Total uninsured||19-64 age uninsured rate||65 and older uninsured rate|
|District of Columbia||3.00%||4.00%||0.50%|
Characteristics of the uninsured
Along with national and state uninsured rates, the U.S. Census Bureau breaks down the uninsured into separate categories such as by poverty level and by industry, giving further insight into which areas are struggling the most.
Uninsured rates by poverty level
|Ratio of income to poverty level||% of total uninsured||# of uninsured|
|Below 50% of the poverty level||12.70%||3,752,157|
|50 to 99% of the poverty level||13.40%||3,958,969|
|100 to 149% of the poverty level||15.20%||4,490,771|
|150 to 199% of the poverty level||14.20%||4,195,325|
|200 to 299% of the poverty level||19.80%||5,849,820|
|At or above 300% of the poverty level||24.80%||7,327,047|
74% of the uninsured have access to a subsidized individual health insurance policy
Individuals between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level will be eligible to receive premium tax credits, which will reduce the monthly cost of your health insurance. For lower-income individuals, this can even result in paying 0$ per month for a Bronze health insurance policy.
Uninsured rates by industry
Uninsured rates can vary widely by the specific industry that individuals work in. This can be due to a variety of employment factors and if the business is experiencing cyclical, structural or frictional unemployment.
With the current coronavirus crisis, a new kind of unemployment is being experienced in the U.S. economy where businesses are being forced to close their doors, leading to a loss of profit and eventual laying off of employees.
Especially hard-hit industries in regard to unemployment will include retail trade, manufacturing and transportation and warehousing, since consumer demand for such products and services will decline according to a new IBIS World report.
On the other hand, in the same report, the health care industry, as well as the food, beverage and medical product side of the retail trade, will see massive booms in demand as individuals seek treatment and purchase food products for staying at home.
|Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and mining||3.30%|
|Transportation and warehousing, and utilities||5.20%|
|Finance and insurance, and real estate and rental and leasing||3.10%|
|Professional, scientific, and management, and administrative and waste management services||11.60%|
|Educational services, and health care and social assistance||12.10%|
|Arts, entertainment, and recreation, and accommodation and food services||17.80%|
|Other services (except public administration)||7.50%|
Effect of COVID-19 on uninsured
Initial unemployment claims have steadily risen to over 16 million during the past 3 weeks. The Department of Labor, for the week ending April 4, reported seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims of 6,606,000. This represented a decrease of over 261,000 from the previous week.
Below is the state-by-state increase in initial unemployment claims not seasonally adjusted. As you can see, the largest week-over-week increase can be seen in Georgia (+190%), Arkansas (+120%) and Arizona (+49%).
|State||Week end April 4||Week end March 28||% Change|
|District of Columbia||15,393||15,869||-3.00%|
With unemployment and job loss comes the potential for loss of health insurance. Luckily there are several options for getting new coverage, but sometimes these can have coverage gaps and differences in benefits and affordability.
Uninsured help and services
If you recently have become unemployed and are worried about losing your health coverage, the first thing you should do is reach out to your previous employer and see if they are extending your health benefits.
Many companies today, such as Macy's and Gap, have furloughed employees but have continued to offer employee health benefits for the near term.
On a longer-term basis, finding sustainable health insurance is crucial so you do not end up with a gap in coverage. One way this can be filled is with COBRA insurance, which allows you to extend your job-based health insurance policy. However, COBRA can be expensive since you will not be responsible for the entire cost of your old health insurance.
A more affordable health insurance plan may be individual health insurance. Becoming unemployed will qualify you for a special enrollment period (SEP), which grants you access to your state's health insurance insurance exchange where you can purchase a policy that will fit your situation and needs.