Pandemic-related job cuts have led 14.6M in U.S. to lose insurance

Up to 7.7 million U.S. workers lost jobs with employer-sponsored health insurance during the coronavirus pandemic, and 6.9 million of their dependents also lost coverage, a new study finds.

Workers in manufacturing, retail, accommodation and food services were especially hard-hit by job losses, but unequally impacted by losses in insurance coverage.

Manufacturing accounted for 12% of unemployed workers in June. But because the sector has one of the highest rates of employer-sponsored coverage at 66%, it accounted for a bigger loss of jobs with insurance — 18% — and 19% of potential coverage loss when dependents are included.

Nearly 3.3 million workers in accommodation and food services had lost their jobs as of June — 30% of the industry’s workforce. But only 25% of workers in the sector had employer-sponsored insurance before the pandemic. Seven percent lost jobs with employer-provided coverage.

The situation was similar in the retail sector. Retail workers represented 10% of pre-pandemic employment and 14% of unemployed workers in June. But only 4 in 10 retail workers had employer-sponsored insurance before the pandemic. They accounted for 12% of lost jobs with employer-sponsored insurance and 11% of potential loss including dependents.

The study was a joint project of the Employee Benefit Research Institute, the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research and the Commonwealth Fund.

“Demographics also play an important role. Workers ages 35 to 44 and 45 to 54 bore the brunt of [employer insurance]-covered job losses, in large part because workers in these age groups were the most likely to be covering spouses and other dependents,” said Paul Fronstin, director of EBRI’s Health Research and Education Program.

“The adverse effects of the pandemic recession also fell disproportionately on women,” Fronstin added in an EBRI news release. “Although women made up 47% of pre-pandemic employment, they accounted for 55% of total job losses.”

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on COVID-19.

Copyright 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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How we can help the unemployed keep their health insurance

Keith Prisco is a stagehand at the United Center in Chicago and a proud union member of IATSE Local 2. Like tens of millions of Americans, he receives health insurance through his employer for himself and his family. The security of this coverage is even more important for Keith after he was diagnosed with leukemia four years ago. But when COVID-19 put a screeching halt on live events, that meant Keith was out of work — jeopardizing his health care coverage in the middle of a pandemic.

As COVID-19 continues to threaten the health and safety of Americans, millions of workers have found themselves under threat of losing their jobs, their health coverage, and their financial savings — all through no fault of their own.

It is unconscionable that unemployed or furloughed workers could also lose health coverage during a public health crisis, yet there are an estimated 10 to 15 million Americans who have lost their employer-sponsored health insurance since the pandemic began. Many unemployed Americans would prefer to remain on their employer health plan, known as COBRA, but it is often prohibitively expensive — on average, $1,700 per month for a family.

From the earliest days of this crisis, the Chicago labor movement and Sen. Durbin identified continuing health coverage for working people as a critical issue.

That’s why labor unions, health care providers, and consumer organizations are joining with Congress to call for the passage of the Worker Health Coverage Protection Act, a bill introduced by Sen. Durbin that would protect millions of unemployed or furloughed workers from losing their health insurance by enabling them to access subsidized COBRA coverage and keep their insurance. The bill would provide a 100 percent subsidy of COBRA health insurance premiums owed by unemployed workers, in nearly all employment-based health plans, to ensure that they do not lose coverage due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is an emergency measure Congress must take to protect the health and safety of American workers as we all battle the ongoing crisis. In fact, similar federal support for COBRA was provided following the 2008 financial crisis.

The Worker Health Coverage Protection Act would allow workers who have been involuntarily terminated in nearly all employment-based health plans, including private sector plans, multiemployer plans, state and local government plans, and the Federal Health Benefits Program, to access subsidized COBRA coverage.

As we work to safeguard the coverage gains and patient protections of the Affordable Care Act, and expand its reach to help lower costs for consumers, this important legislation is an immediate way to prevent Americans from losing coverage.

If you lost your job because of the pandemic, you should not also lose your health coverage. Not only is that common sense, but it is sound economic policy that will help working people bounce back stronger.

The House of Representatives has already passed the Worker Health Coverage Protection Act as part of the HEROES Act in May, and Senate Democrats introduced the bill last week. We cannot

Shores man threatens to kill his dentist over insurance issue with dentures



a person posing for the camera: Moussa Assi


© Jail mug
Moussa Assi

A Daytona Beach Shores man unhappy insurance would no longer pay for adjustment of his dentures wanted his dentist dead, saying he would step on her with his shoe as she died, police said.

Records show Moussa Assi, 64, was booked into the Volusia County Branch Jail on Wednesday on charges of threats or extortion. He was in jail Thursday on $5,000 bail.

Assi threatened to kill dentist Jenna Obeng if she did not pay him double what was paid to her by insurance company Humana, a police report states.

“On Oct. 6, I will end her life. I will step on her with my shoe while she is dying,” Assi said on a voicemail message to the dentist, the report states.

In one call, Assi also said “I hope your entire family dies of coronavirus,” according to a police report.

Obeng contacted police Tuesday, saying Assi called and said he was on his way to Dental USA Family Dentistry at 1540 Cornerstone Blvd. in Daytona, investigators said.

Police said Assi called Obeng up to 10 times a day, accusing her of stealing money from the insurance company and threatening her life and that of her family, a report states.

This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: Daytona police: Shores man threatens to kill his dentist over insurance issue with dentures

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Man threatens to kill his dentist over insurance issue with dentures



a person posing for the camera: Moussa Assi


© Jail mug
Moussa Assi

A Daytona Beach man unhappy insurance would no longer pay for adjustment of his dentures wanted his dentist dead, saying he would step on her with his shoe as she died, police said.

Records show Moussa Assi, 64, was booked into the Volusia County Branch Jail on Wednesday on charges of threats or extortion. He was in jail Thursday on $5,000 bail.

Assi threatened to kill dentist Jenna Obeng if she did not pay him double what was paid to her by insurance company Humana, a police report states.

“On Oct. 6, I will end her life. I will step on her with my shoe while she is dying,” Assi said on a voicemail message to the dentist, the report states.

In one call, Assi also said “I hope your entire family dies of coronavirus,” according to a police report.

Obeng contacted police Tuesday, saying Assi called and said he was on his way to Dental USA Family Dentistry at 1540 Cornerstone Blvd. in Daytona, investigators said.

Police said Assi called Obeng up to 10 times a day, accusing her of stealing money from the insurance company and threatening her life and that of her family, a report states.

This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: Daytona police: Man threatens to kill his dentist over insurance issue with dentures

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Medicare vs. Medicaid: What Is the Difference? | Health Insurance

ALTHOUGH THEY WERE BORN ON THE SAME DAY, Medicare and Medicaid are not identical twins. And even though they have been around for 55 years, many people still confuse these government-backed two healthcare programs.

On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed the laws that created Medicare and Medicaid as part of his Great Society programs to address poverty, inequality, hunger and education issues. Both Medicare and Medicaid offer health care support, but they do so in very different ways and mostly to different constituencies.

According to the Medicare Rights Center:

  • Medicare is a federal program that provides health coverage to those age 65 and older, or to those under 65 who have a disability, with no regard to personal income.
  • Medicaid is a combined state and federal program that provides health coverage to those who have a very low income, regardless of age.

Some people may be eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, known as dually eligible, and can qualify for both programs. The two programs work together to provide health coverage and lower costs, the MRC says. And although Medicare and Medicaid are both health insurance programs administered by the government, there are differences in the services they cover and in the ways costs are shared.

Medicare is a federal health insurance program. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the program pays medical bills from trust funds that working people have paid into during their employment. It offers essentially the same coverage and costs everywhere in the United States and is overseen by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency of the federal government.

Medicare is designed primarily to serve people over 65, whatever their income, and younger disabled people and dialysis patients who are diagnosed with end-stage renal disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or transplant). Patients pay a portion of their medical costs through deductibles for hospital and other services. They also pay small monthly premiums for non-hospital coverage.

Medicare has two parts. Part A covers hospital care, and Part B covers other services like doctor’s appointments, outpatient treatment and other medical expenses. HHS says you are eligible for premium-free Part A if you are age 65 or older and you or your spouse worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years. You can get Part A at age 65 without having to pay premiums if:

  • You receive retirement benefits or are eligible to receive benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board.
  • You or your spouse had Medicare-covered government employment.

If you are under age 65, you can get Part A without having to pay premiums if:

  • You have been entitled to Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board disability benefits for 24 months.
  • You are a kidney dialysis or kidney transplant patient.

HHS says that most people do not have to pay a premium for Part A, but everyone must pay a premium for Part B. This is deducted monthly from your Social Security, railroad

Mark Farrah Associates Assessed 2nd Quarter Health Insurance Enrollment Trends

Mark Farrah Associates (MFA), www.markfarrah.com, released a mid-year 2020 health insurance segment enrollment update. Based on membership data filed with statutory financial reports from the NAIC (National Association of Insurance Commissioners), the CA DMHC (California Department of Managed Health Care), and data from MFA’s ASO estimates, insurance companies provided medical coverage for 274 million people, as of June 30, 2020. This number is up from 268.2 million or approximately 5.8 million members, from a year ago.

  • Second quarter enrollment trends indicated membership gains for Individual, Medicare Advantage (MA), Managed Medicaid, and Employer-Group ASO (administrative services only for self-funded plans) business, while the Employer-Group risk segment experienced a year-over-year decline.

  • Over 15.3 million people are currently enrolled in Individual, Non-Group medical plans, representing a 2.8% increase between 2Q19 and 2Q20.

  • Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) now provide coverage for approximately 52.8 million beneficiaries, representing 6% growth, year-over-year. According to CMS reports, nearly 73.5 million people rely on Medicaid as their source of health insurance coverage.

  • Second quarter membership in Medicare Advantage (MA) plans increased to over 24.8 million, from 22.2 million in the prior year.

To read the FREE full text of “Mid-Year Trends in Health Insurance Enrollment and Segment Performance“, visit the Analysis Briefs library on Mark Farrah Associates’ website.

About Mark Farrah Associates (MFA)

Mark Farrah Associates (MFA) is a leading data aggregator and publisher providing health plan market data and analysis tools for the healthcare industry. Our product portfolio includes Health Coverage Portal™, County Health Coverage™, 5500 Employer Health Plus, Medicare Business Online™, Medicare Benefits Analyzer™, and Health Plans USA™. For more information about these products, refer to the informational videos and brochures available under the Our Products section of the website or call 724-338-4100. MFA will continue to monitor enrollment changes and competitive shifts across all healthcare segments.

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201006005781/en/

Contacts

Mark Farrah Associates
Ann Marie Wolfe, [email protected]

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D.C. residents to see small increase in health insurance marketplace rates

Rates for individual coverage will increase overall by 0.2 percent and rates for small-group coverage, such as small businesses, will decrease by 0.5 percent, according to the D.C. Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking, which reviews and approves rates for the online marketplace.

The 2021 rates are a “big win for D.C. residents in making health care more affordable and accessible,” said William Borden, a professor of medicine and health policy at George Washington University. He pointed to how people struggled to keep up with rising health insurance premiums even before the novel coronavirus took hold.

“Having health insurance is clearly associated with better health outcomes, and so if there was going to be a sharp increase in insurance premiums that really could be devastating, especially as individuals, small businesses are already struggling financially,” Borden said.

Insurers initially asked for rate increases as high as 30 percent, but most of the insurers decreased their initial rate filings after a virtual public hearing in September.

During that hearing, leaders of the D.C. Health Benefit Exchange Authority, which operates D.C. Health Link, the online health insurance marketplace, advocated premium reductions or freezing rates at 2020 levels. More than 30 people signed up to testify.

The gap between what insurers initially proposed and what the DISB approved after the hearing will save D.C. residents more than $17 million, according to the department’s news release Friday.

Open enrollment in the District runs from Nov. 1 through Jan. 31.

Other jurisdictions also have moved to limit increasing rates.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) approved an average 11.9 percent premium rate decrease for individual health insurance plans through Maryland Health Connection, the state-based health insurance marketplace, in 2021. This is the third consecutive year that individual premium rates have gone down in Maryland. Open enrollment in Maryland runs from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15.

The open enrollment period for all three jurisdictions will begin just as the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on a case to overturn the Affordable Care Act, which could leave more than 23 million people without health care, according to a report from the liberal think tank Center for American Progress.

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Unemployed Stage Actors to Face New Health Insurance Hurdle

Facing enormous financial strain because of the shutdown of the theater industry, the health insurance fund that covers thousands of stage actors is making it more difficult for them to qualify for coverage.

Currently, professional actors and stage managers have to work 11 weeks to qualify for six months of coverage. But starting Jan. 1, they will have to work 16 weeks to qualify for a similar level of coverage.

Nonprofit and commercial theater producers contribute to the health fund when they employ unionized actors and stage managers, but because theaters have been closed since March, those contributions — which make up 88 percent of the fund’s revenue — have largely ceased.

“The fact that we have no contributed income is something no one could have foreseen,” said Christopher Brockmeyer, a Broadway League executive who co-chairs the fund’s board of trustees, which is evenly divided between representatives of the Actors’ Equity union and producers. “We really put together the only viable option to cover as many people as possible with meaningful benefits under these totally unprecedented circumstances.”

Brockmeyer and his co-chair, Madeleine Fallon, said the fund, which currently provides insurance coverage for about 6,700 Equity members, is facing its biggest financial challenge since the height of the AIDS crisis. At that time, the challenge was high expenses for the fund; this time, it is low revenues.

“Everybody is out of work, everybody is panicked, everybody has lost income and can’t make their art, and on top of that their health fund is in crisis,” said Fallon, who leads the union bloc on the board. “It’s been an emotionally difficult journey, but we hope our members will understand that we did find the plan that gives us our best chance to rebuild.”

Under the new system, those who work at least 12 weeks can qualify for lower-tiered plans with higher co-payments and more restrictions.

Actors’ Equity, which appoints half of the fund’s trustees, but is otherwise an independent organization, opposes the changes.

“We all understand that there is no escaping the devastating loss of months of employer contributions nationwide, and no alternative aside from making adjustments to the plan,” the union’s president, Kate Shindle, said in a statement. “But I believe that the fund had both the obligation and the financial reserves to take the time to make better choices.”

Shindle said the union had asked its members on the fund’s board of trustees not to support the changes until they conducted a study about the potential impact on union members of color, on pregnant union members, and on union members who live outside New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

A similar battle is unfolding in the film and television industry. Members of SAG-AFTRA, a union representing actors in those media, have loudly objected to changes in their health plan.

Stage actors are accustomed to working to earn health care benefits — some take jobs for the express purpose of getting weeks that will help qualify them for insurance. But many

Discount Dental Plans Vs Dental Insurance

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