Despite falling unemployment and a strong economy in 2017-18 the number of uninsured rose during the same time period, according to a new analysis prepared by researchers at the Urban Institute, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Using data from three federal surveys, researchers saw a decrease in unemployment and a rise in incomes during those years contribute to fewer people enrolled in Medicaid coverage. Two of the surveys indicated that insurance coverage losses were concentrated among those who were likely not eligible for Medicaid. Survey data also found mixed results for private insurance coverage. Parallel to the boost in employment, the U.S. Census Bureau’s ongoing American Community Survey showed increases in employer-sponsored coverage between 2017 and 2018 and declines in private, non-group coverage.
“Even before COVID-19, our uninsurance rate was unacceptably high, which has increased our vulnerability – individually and as a society,” said Katherine Hempstead, senior policy advisor at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Affordable coverage for everyone should be the goal for true recovery from this pandemic.”