University of Minnesota COVID-19 Health Insurance Model estimates that as many as 18.4 million individuals may be at risk of losing their employer-sponsored health insurance coverage (ESI)
University of Minnesota COVID-19 Health Insurance Model (MN-HIM)
Most Americans rely on their place of employment to obtain private health insurance coverage. Currently, 64% of workers age
19–64 and their dependents get their health insurance coverage through an employer source. One weakness of relying on employers as the primary source of health insurance is that individuals’ health insurance coverage is closely tied to the labor market.
In the four weeks ending on April 11, 2020, more than 22 million workers (seasonally-adjusted) filed for unemployment insurance as the economy has shut down in response to the coronavirus pandemic, wiping out more than a decade of job creation. In the week ending on April 18, 2020, an additional 4.4 million workers filed for unemployment insurance. This unprecedented increase in unemployment could lead to equally unprecedented decreases and disruptions in health insurance coverage.
To estimate the disruption to ESI coverage due to COVID-19, faculty in the Division of Health Policy and Management at the University of Minnesota’s School of Public Health and staff from the State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC) developed the University of Minnesota COVID-19 Health Insurance Model (MN-HIM). The model uses information on ESI coverage rates from the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC), Bureau of Labor Statistics’ employment levels by state and industry, and state agency reports of initial unemployment claims by overall and by industry.
This brief presents new national and state estimates of potential disruptions to ESI coverage resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic job losses through April 11, 2020, including estimates for policyholders and their covered dependents produced by the MN-HIM model. The brief also outlines the methods and data inputs the model uses to arrive at estimates of ESI coverage disruption. The model and the estimates presented in the brief will be updated as new data on job losses and coverage become available.
On Friday, April 24, 2020, The University of Minnesota, School of Public Health, Division of Health Policy and Management hosted a COVID-19 Health Policy Briefing Webinar. This webinar brought together local and national health policy experts to discuss the current health policy challenges and share their perspectives on the COVID-19 pandemic. Professor Ezra Golberstein, PhD, served as the panel moderated and panelists included School of Public Health faculty Lynn Blewett, PhD and Eva Enns, PhD, Nathan Chomilo, MD, from the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Scott Keefer, JD, from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, Abigail Wozniak, PhD, from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Meena Seshamani, MD, from MedStar Health and Kristin Wikelius, MPA, from the United States of Care. View the COVID-19 Health Policy Briefing here.