Making Sense of Competing Estimates
Brief Aug-01-2020 | | 2-min read
With millions of workers suddenly out of work, early projections of the effect that the pandemic would have on health coverage in the United States varied widely in both methodological approach and final projections.
Conducting a comparative analysis of four previously published studies, researchers suggest that despite millions of Americans losing their job due to COVID-19, changes to people’s health insurance coverage might not be as widespread as anticipated. However, researchers note that the projections and studies examined in their analysis are far from definitive and a full understanding of shifts in the overall number of people who are insured won’t be known until more definitive data points become available next year.
In analyzing the four studies, the authors note key methodological difference among the competing projections.
It remains unknown exactly how many people will lose both their jobs and health insurance coverage during the COVID-19 recession, and definitive data will not be available until next year. Though employment rebounded somewhat after the huge job losses in March and April 2020, the economic recovery is uncertain and depends on the course of the coronavirus and efforts to mitigate its spread. Recent household surveys with smaller sample sizes than federal surveys have, however, indicated that net changes in insurance coverage thus far have been small.
Without definitive data on how health insurance coverage is currently changing and will change in the coming months, models that predict the effects of widespread employment losses on coverage play an important role in alerting policymakers to potential outcomes.
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