Evolving COVID-19 Impacts on Health Insurance Enrollment

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On May 13, Avalere experts discussed key issues and considerations for the healthcare industry as millions of Americans shift in and out of new sources of coverage due to COVID-19.
Please note: This is an archived post. Some of the information and data discussed in this article may be out of date. It is preserved here for historical reference but should not be used as the basis for business decisions. Please see our main Insights section for more recent posts.

The webinar featured:

  • Elizabeth Carpenter, Head of Advisory Services
  • Rebecca Yip, Principal, Policy
  • Chris Sloan, Associate Principal, Policy

Modeling COVID-19 Impacts

Avalere is currently developing economic models to better understand how the current COVID-19 pandemic will affect health insurance enrollment. To develop these models, Avalere experts rely on a variety of sources, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor reports, and Congressional Budget Office analyses. Many factors should be consider in the current situation, including:

  • The mix of industries currently experiencing substantial job losses
  • Short- and long-term estimates of unemployment and subsequent recovery
  • The percentage of individuals (and their families) who lose employer sponsored insurance
  • Eligibility for other forms of coverage including Medicaid, exchanges, and employer coverage under a furlough
  • Generosity of unemployment insurance and pandemic unemployment assistance
  • Implications of increased enrollment in Medicaid and state budget shortfalls
  • Future federal legislation extending unemployment benefits or increasing subsidies for health insurance coverage

Expectations for the Uninsured, Medicaid, and Exchange Markets

Uninsured: Avalere expects a substantial increase in the uninsured due to the economic downturn, erasing some of the gains that were made since 2014. This increase will be less as a percentage compared to previous recessions due to the comparably better safety net in 2020. Despite that, the number of uninsured will likely necessitate an increase in charity care and the use of patient assistance programs.

Medicaid: The majority of individuals losing employer-sponsored insurance is expected to shift into Medicaid. Large increases in Medicaid enrollment will have numerous downstream impacts, including budget challenges for state governments, increased rebate liabilities for manufacturers, and strained state enrollment systems.

Exchanges: After multiple years of declining enrollment, exchanges will see significant increases in enrollment due to the economic downturn. While the enrollment increase may be a short-term increase, the additional lives may help stabilize the exchange market heading into 2021.

Watch the archived version of the webinar.

Check out our COVID-19 Intel Center.

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Webinar | Election 2024: What’s at Stake for Healthcare? 

On August 14 at 1:30 PM ET, Avalere experts and guests will discuss the 2024 elections, exploring the candidates’ health policy approaches and implications for stakeholders. 

Learn More

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