The Relationship between Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic-linked Job Losses and Health Care Access and Household Financial Health in Medicaid Expansion and Nonexpansion States

Joseph A. Benitez, Huang Huang, Portia L. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Unemployment associated with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic was linked to financial insecurity and disruptions in access to health care. Objective: To explore whether expanded access to Medicaid mitigated the likelihood of health and non-health financial hardship associated with pandemic-linked job loss. Design: We estimate linear regression models comparing differences in the levels of outcomes attributable to pandemic-linked joblessness in Medicaid expansion and nonexpansion states. Observations: A total of 20,281 adults aged 19-64 were in the 2021 National Financial Capability Study. Measures: Our key exposure was job loss, layoffs, and furloughs, attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic. Outcomes under evaluation include indicators of health care access and household financial health. Results: Relative to persons reporting pandemic-linked unemployment in nonexpansion states, adults experiencing pandemic-linked job loss in expansion states were less likely to report as uninsured [-6.2 percentage points (PPs); 95% CI: -10.8, -1.6; P < 0.01], having unpaid medical bills (-4.3 PP; 95% CI: -8, -0.6; P < 0.05), having unmet medical needs due to cost (-5.3 PP; 95% CI: -10.1, -0.5; P < 0.05), and having calls from debt collection agencies (-6.9 PP; 95% CI: -10.6, -3.1; P < 0.01). Patterns consistent with Medicaid acting as a safety net for the adverse financial effects of job loss were more pronounced for middle-income households. Conclusions: In economic downturns, such as the COVID-19 crisis, Medicaid can help insulate households from diminished health care access and financial distress associated with job loss.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)872-881
Number of pages10
JournalMedical Care
Volume61
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • financial protections
  • hardship
  • medicaid
  • safety net

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The Relationship between Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic-linked Job Losses and Health Care Access and Household Financial Health in Medicaid Expansion and Nonexpansion States'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this