Contact 2: Unemployment affecting health insurance, costs of care

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ST. LOUIS – “These three unemployment scenarios we looked at was a 10 percent unemployment scenario, a 17.5 percent and on the high-end 25 percent unemployment,” said Adam Johnson, research analyst for Quote Wizard.

Johnson and his team examined data from Health Management Associates. It estimated the number of people who will lose employer-sponsored health insurance, qualify for Medicaid, and the number of people who could go uninsured.

The most recent data from the US Department of Labor shows 17.9 percent of Missouri’s workforce has filed an unemployment claim since March 1. According to Quote Wizard’s medium unemployment scenario, 491,000 Missourians could lose their employer-sponsored healthcare due to the coronavirus layoffs. More than 222,000 Missourians could be left uninsured.

“In a state like Missouri that did not participate in expansion, that eligibility based on income is lower,” Johnson said.

Johnson said states that didn’t expand Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act will be hardest hit with uninsured people.

“Covering those costs of uninsured people is quite an economic burden,” Johnson said.

While Congress designated $100 billion in CARES Act funding for hospitals and other health care services, the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates health care costs for the uninsured could amount to $40 billion. With such a large portion of the funding going to covering the uninsured, other entities in the bill could go underfunded. Long-term, they say it could increase the cost of health care.

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