← Well Fall 2020

Why Health Insurance Is More Important Than Ever

Options are available in the event of a job loss

At the same time the COVID-19 crisis has brought on record unemployment levels, it has also made clear why health insurance is more important than ever.

More than 10 million people in the U.S. are estimated to lose employer-sponsored health insurance as a result of pandemic-related job loss in their household between April and December 2020, according to the Urban Institute.1

Fortunately, there is some good news. The institute’s projections show that:

  • 3.3 million people will regain health insurance coverage by being added to a family member’s policy
  • 2.8 million people will enroll in Medicaid, and
  • 600,000 people will enroll in the individual market

Still, 3.5 million individuals are projected to become uninsured. And with increasing COVID-19 positive cases and additional job losses, the number of workers losing their employer-backed health insurance may continue to grow.

Help for potential treatment costs

Health insurance is important at all times, but especially during a pandemic. Individuals who are not covered face increased financial and emotional stress if they get sick with COVID-19. Treatment costs can be significant, potentially resulting in large medical bills. Most people who come down with the virus recover at home. However, an estimated 15% of infected people may end up hospitalized or in need of outpatient follow-up care.2

Most health insurers, including Tufts Health Plan, cover COVID-19 treatment in full.3

Having health insurance can make all the difference, not only COVID-19 but for any kind of health care need or medical emergency.

5 ways health insurance can help protect you

  1. Unexpected, high medical costs – For example, the average three-day hospital stay may cost thousands of dollars. Health insurance limits the amount you are responsible for paying for high-cost care with copayments, coinsurance, deductibles, and out-of-pocket maximums.
  2. Treatment of illness and accidents – Health insurance typically provides essential benefits for services such as emergency room visits, inpatient or outpatient care, laboratory tests, and diagnostic exams. Prescription drug coverage may also be included in a policy.
  3. Preventive services – Including vaccines, screenings, and checkups to help keep you healthy.  Preventive services are covered in full under the Affordable Care Act.
  4. The network advantage – Plans that have a network of providers may save you hundreds of dollars in medical costs. You pay less for covered in-network health care, even before you meet any deductible that may apply.
  5. Peace of mind for families – Individuals across different age groups can get coverage along with their spouse and children to help make sure everyone has access to health care.

Options for staying insured

In these difficult times, the good news is that options are available for staying insured. For example, individuals who need assistance paying for health care coverage can consider state and federal “exchanges.” With monthly premiums based on how much a person or family can pay, exchanges are a key to keeping insurance affordable for those who lose their jobs.

  1. Urban Institute - https://www.rwjf.org/en/library/research/2020/07/changes-in-health-insurance-coverage-due-to-the-covid-19-recession--preliminary-estimates-using-microsimulation.html
  2. Kaiser Family Foundation - https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/estimated-cost-of-treating-the-uninsured-hospitalized-with-covid-19/
  3. Tufts Health Plan covers in-person treatments in full, provided that it is with in-network providers, urgent care centers, emergency rooms and other facilities, and at out-of-network providers in the event a member cannot easily find an in-network provider to provide timely services.