According to a new report, 72% of people who lost their health insurance when they lost their jobs over the last 2 years said that they skipped needed health care because of cost. The same proportion is also struggling with medical bills, compared to 49% who lost jobs but not their health insurance.
6 in 10 working Americans rely on health insurance obtained through their employer, and when an estimated 15 million working-age adults lost their jobs and their employer-based insurance between 2008 and 2010, 9 million became uninsured. Under the COBRA, people employed by companies with 20 or more workers and have health insurance sponsored by that company can keep their health insurance for up to 18 months if they lose their job. However, because unemployed workers must pay the full premium, few people elect to continue their coverage through COBRA.
The report finds that once the major coverage provisions of the Affordable Care Act are implemented in 2014, job loss will not automatically mean going without health insurance, because the newly unemployed will have greatly expanded health insurance options, including subsidies to purchase insurance through exchanges, and expanded access to Medicaid coverage.
However, when the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented in 2014, it will usher in a new era for the unemployed, who will have a variety of options for comprehensive and affordable health insurance.