Realizing Health Reform's Potential—When Unemployed Means Uninsured: The Toll of Job Loss on Health Coverage, and How the Affordable Care Act Will Help

August 24, 2011 | Volume 18

Authors: Michelle M. Doty, Ph.D., Sara R. Collins, Ph.D., Ruth Robertson, M.Sc., and Tracy Garber
Contact: Michelle M. Doty, Ph.D., Vice President of Survey Research and Evaluation, The Commonwealth Fund, mmd@cmwf.org
Editor: Chris Hollander

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Overview

Chronically high unemployment has left millions of Americans without health insurance, which disappeared along with their wages and other job benefits. Although continuing health coverage through COBRA is an option for some workers, the often prohibitively high cost means that relatively few elect to purchase it. When fully implemented in 2014, the Affordable Care Act will dramatically increase health insurance options for people who lose their jobs. Even so, gaps in coverage will remain a risk for many workers who become unemployed or are transitioning to a new job. To help bridge coverage gaps until 2014, policymakers should consider reestablishing the COBRA premium subsidies that helped millions of people who lost their jobs in 2008–2010.

 

Citation

M. M. Doty, S. R. Collins, R. Robertson, and T. Garber, Realizing Health Reform's Potential—When Unemployed Means Uninsured: The Toll of Job Loss on Health Coverage, and How the Affordable Care Act Will Help, The Commonwealth Fund, August 2011.