Nearly 300,000 people in Washington have lost their health coverage since March

Apr 30 2020, 11:58 am

The Office of Financial Management (OFM) estimates that 272,900 people in Washington have lost their health coverage between mid-March and last week, bringing the state uninsured total to 794,700.

Due to the mandated temporary closures of non-essential businesses statewide, many workers over the past months have lost their jobs.

Last month, Washington Governor Jay Inslee noted in a press conference that unemployment filings are increasing five times faster than during the last recession, and according to the OFM, in the five-week period from March 15 to April 18, more than 700,000 workers in Washington filed unemployment insurance claims.

When these workers lost their employment, their employment-based health insurance may have been taken as well.

According to the OFM, prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, Washington’s uninsured rate is estimated to have increased from 6.2% in 2018 to 6.6% in 2019 and to 6.7% at the beginning of 2020.

In the second half of March through April 18, 2020, when unemployment claims surged in Washington, the state’s uninsured rate increased to 10.2% — meaning that approximately 272,900 people lost their coverage in the five weeks’ time, bringing the state’s total uninsured to 794,700.

Snohomish and Pierce counties have seen the highest increase in uninsured rates, while Ferry county has seen the least amount of change.