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Survey Highlights The Financial Vulnerability of The Poor And Disadvantaged When Faced With COVID-19 Crisis

Last updated May 1st, 2020

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One in six unemployed or underemployed adults (16%) say they would not seek medical treatment if they caught the virus, possibly due to financial strain, compared to one in 14 other adults (7%)

New York, N.Y., April 16, 2020 — HealthCare.com today released new data surrounding the disadvantages of the uninsured and underinsured in relation to COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, from a recently conducted nationwide survey. Just under one-third to just under half of the adults in the United States who earn less than $40,000 a year (49%) or have no more than a part-time job (32%) face the crisis without the ability to pay anything out of pocket to combat the virus.

For full survey results, visit: https://www.healthcare.com/poorer-and-underemployed-americans-financially-vulnerable-coronavirus-116506

The survey found that 54% percent of adults who are unemployed, working part-time, students or taking care of their families say they would be not very to not at all financially prepared to deal with healthcare costs if they caught the virus compared to 38% of others (those who work full time, or are retired or disabled) that stated they would not be financially prepared. 

The data is similar when comparing the ability to pay for medical costs with household income. Half of all respondents with annual incomes below $40,000 (50%) say they could not afford any out-of-pocket medical expenses versus only one in 15 of those whose incomes are at least $80,000 (7%). Vulnerable individuals also included more than 55% of minority groups stating they could not afford medical treatment for the virus.

Just under one in four of those who reported being unemployed said (24%) they had lost jobs because of the virus or the resulting economic fallout.

Among those surveyed, 13% do not have health insurance overall, with that number rising to 22% uninsured for those who are unemployed or underemployed. The percentage for disenfranchised individuals hovered close by, with 18% of those with no more than a high school diploma and 19% of those making $40,000 a year or less. 

“Unemployed individuals and others without health insurance have multiple avenues to get health insurance,” said Jeff Smedsrud, co-founder of HealthCare.com. “For example, they may be eligible for COBRA, they may be eligible for an Obamacare plan with a large premium subsidy, they may be newly eligible for Medicaid, and many will be eligible for short-term medical insurance. The choice for each individual is unique. All types of insurance will cover testing and diagnosis for COVID-19 at no cost to the insured.”

Depending on an individual’s situation, the survey results point to ongoing concern for the unemployed and uninsured in the wake of the global pandemic. An earlier HealthCare.com data study revealed the same groups would struggle more to pay for medical care and are taking fewer precautions to slow the pandemic, including less social distancing and hand washing.


HealthCare.com commissioned YouGov Plc to conduct the survey. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. The total sample size was 2,491 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between April 1-3, 2020. The survey was carried out online and meets rigorous quality standards. It employed a non-probability-based sample using both quotas upfront during collection and then a weighting scheme on the back end designed and proven to provide nationally representative results. The survey has a margin error of two percentage points, plus or minus.

About HealthCare.com

HealthCare.com is an online health insurance company providing a data-driven shopping platform that helps American consumers enroll in individual health insurance and Medicare plans. HealthCare.com also develops and markets a portfolio of proprietary, direct-to-consumer health insurance, and supplemental insurance products under the name Pivot Health. Founded in 2014, the company is headquartered in New York City and is backed by PeopleFund and individual investors including current and former executives of Booking.com and Priceline. HealthCare.com is a 4-time honoree of the Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing companies. For more info, visit www.healthcare.com.

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