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COVID-19 & the Uninsured: How PA Should Prepare

May 26, 2020

The COVID-19 crisis is increasing the number of uninsured.

The COVID-19 crisis has impacted individuals in unimaginable ways physically, emotionally, and financially.

  • Over 31 million people have applied for unemployment benefits between March 1st and May 2nd, 2020.  Actual numbers of job losses are likely higher, as some individuals have not applied for unemployment benefits yet.
  • This level of unemployment has a significant impact on individuals’ health coverage. Mid-range approximations predict that an estimated 23.21 million individuals across the country have lost employer-based health coverage and will be uninsured.

It is critical that the United States, and Pennsylvania, take action quickly to prepare for the influx of enrollees.

COVID-19 & Medicaid:

  • Mid-range estimates show that Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program is expected to grow by 737,000 new enrollees as individuals become newly eligible for the program due to recent unemployment.
  • In addition, because the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) has stopped Medicaid terminations during the crisis, the estimated new enrollees will be added to an already-high number of enrollees.

DHS must work to ensure that all newly eligible individuals have access to a quick and seamless application process so they can avoid a coverage gap, and begin using their coverage quickly after losing coverage from another source.

COVID-19 & the Affordable Care Act marketplace:

Mid-range estimates also show that Pennsylvania will add 87,000 individuals to marketplace plans. Subsidies for marketplace coverage are already available to people with a household income between 100% and 400% of poverty, and many new enrollees may be eligible for subsidies based on the recent loss of income.

Pennsylvania should consider creating additional subsidy programs in order to make enrolling in marketplace coverage more affordable during this crisis.

For questions about Medicaid Coverage, Marketplace Coverage, or assistance applying, please call PHAN’s Helpline (877-570-3642) or email [email protected].