Health coverage losses during the pandemic disproportionately affected women, small business employees

Enrollment in employer-sponsored health insurance declined during the COVID-19 pandemic, disproportionately affecting women and employees of small businesses, a new study published in JAMA Network Open found. 

The study, published Sept. 30, analyzed data from a group of commercial health plans in all 50 states, covering both large- and small-business employees.

The researchers from the University of Pennsylvania found that the number of people with employer-sponsored health insurance declined 5.1 percent from January 2020 to June 2021. The rates of employer-sponsored health insurance decreased even as fewer people were unemployed. 

Small-business employees were more likely to lose employer-sponsored coverage. Women were also more likely to lose coverage. The authors wrote these losses were consistent with evidence of many women leaving the workforce during the pandemic.

Read the full study here.

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