Filed Under:Health Insurance, Individual Health

Researchers: Loss of Health Benefits Hits Unemployed Hard

U.S. adults who lose health insurance when they become unemployed are much less likely than insured unemployed people to get either primary care or specialist care.

A team of researchers led by Michelle McEvoy Doty, a vice president at the Commonwealth Fund, New York, has published that finding in an analysis of results from a 2010 telephone survey of 3,033 U.S. adults ages 19 to 64

The researchers found that about 18% of the participants had lost a job within the past two years, and that about 8.3% of the participants had lost employer-sponsored health coverage as a result of becoming unemployed.

When the researchers compared unemployed workers who still had health coverage with unemployed workers who still had health coverage, they found that 56% of the uninsured unemployed reported failing to visit a doctor to check out a medical problem because of concerns about cost, compared with 28% of the insured unemployed.

Similarly, 50% of the uninsured unemployed failed to get specialist care that they felt they needed, compared with 19% of the insured unemployed.

The researchers also looked at the reasons some workers who lost employer-sponsored coverage were able to stay insured.

About 57% of the unemployed workers who lost group coverage became uninsured.

About 25% got coverage through a spouse's plan or bought other ordinary private coverage, and 14% paid to continue employer-sponsored coverage through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) benefits continuation program.

- Allison Bell

Other coverage of the uninsured from National Underwriter Life & Health:

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Nichole Morford

Nichole Morford
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