Health Insurance

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

Underinsured Rate Heatmap

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.

Total uninsured
19-64 age uninsured rate
65 and older uninsured rate
United States9.00%12.50%0.80%
District of Columbia3.00%4.00%0.50%
Show All Rows

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 level12.70%3,752,157
50 to 99% of the poverty level13.40%3,958,969
100 to 149% of the poverty level15.20%4,490,771
150 to 199% of the poverty level14.20%4,195,325
200 to 299% of the poverty level19.80%5,849,820
At or above 300% of the poverty level24.80%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.

% uninsured
Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and mining3.30%
Wholesale trade2.10%
Retail trade12.80%
Transportation and warehousing, and utilities5.20%
Finance and insurance, and real estate and rental and leasing3.10%
Professional, scientific, and management, and administrative and waste management services11.60%
Educational services, and health care and social assistance12.10%
Arts, entertainment, and recreation, and accommodation and food services17.80%
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.

The largest week-over-week increase can be seen in Georgia (+190%), Arkansas (+120%) and Arizona (+49%).

Week end April 4
Week end March 28
% Change
District of Columbia15,39315,869-3.00%
Show All Rows

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.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.