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Survey Highlights Persistent Vulnerability in Insurance Coverage Among Americans

August 25, 2020

Last week, the Commonwealth Fund released the results of its Biennial Health Insurance Survey, 2020, evaluating health insurance coverage and quality among Americans from January through June, 2020. The analysis highlighted the “persistent vulnerability” among working-age adults in their ability to afford health insurance coverage, and foreshadowed an even bigger crisis in coverage: as U.S. job losses resulting from the pandemic continue to increase, many more Americans also will lose their employer-based health insurance.

Since 2001, the Commonwealth Fund has conducted a biennial health insurance survey to study coverage adequacy among U.S. working age adults, as well their experience with health insurance.

The 2020 survey highlights include:

  • During the first half of 2020, 43.4 percent of American adults had inadequate health insurance; this is unchanged from the 2018 survey and indicates continuing instability in Americans’ health care coverage
  • One-fourth of Americans with adequate insurance coverage said they had problems paying for medical care during the past year
  • Half of the adults who were uninsured or underinsured for any part of the past year said they had problems paying medical bills; some were making payments on medical debt
  • Americans of color were more likely to have financial concerns and more trouble paying medical bills
  • From 2010 to 2020, adults with health insurance with deductibles of $1,000 or higher more than doubled from 22 percent to 46 percent

Policy changes were recommended that would help expand coverage to more Americans:

  • The 12 remaining U.S. states that have not yet expanded Medicaid coverage should considering expanding their programs
  • Increasing premium and cost-sharing subsidies in the Affordable Care Act marketplace
  • Banning health insurance plans that don’t comply with Affordable Care Act requirements, including short-term, limited duration plans

HAP and Pennsylvania’s hospitals continue to advocate for comprehensive health insurance for all Pennsylvanians and convenient, timely access to needed health care services. 

In Pennsylvania, several programs are available to help residents who don’t have health insurance or have limited income due to a job loss or other reason. Pennsylvanians should visit COMPASS or download the MyCOMPASS phone app to check eligibility and apply for benefits for programs, such as:

Pennsylvanians also are encouraged to check with their local hospital or health system about online or in-person assistance that may be available.

For more information, contact HAP’s Jolene Calla, Esq., HAP’s vice president, health care finance and insurance.