Across the country, the coronavirus pandemic has widened preexisting cracks in our society. We now have some data on Covid-19’s effects on health insurance. The number of uninsured people in King County jumped 67 percent between mid-March and April 18, according to a study released yesterday by Washington’s Office of Financial Management. Before the pandemic, 5.6 percent of King County was uninsured. By April 18, the number rose to 9.3 percent.
In response, Washington State Health Care Authority has opened a special enrollment period for plans in the Washington Healthplanfinder. Currently, uninsured residents have until May 8 to apply. Likewise, HCA isn’t terminating anyone’s Washington Apple Health plan unless the recipient moves out of state or requests it.
Statewide the study found a 52 percent increase in uninsured people. That means about 272,900 lost insurance coverage due to the pandemic, putting the total at 794,700 uninsured statewide. Not a shock given that health care is frequently tied to employment and jobless claims have soared recently.
The uninsured numbers vary widely by county. King had the third highest increase in the state, after Snohomish and Pierce counties, which both saw 84 percent leaps. Ferry County saw only a 0.6 percent increase, while Okanogan and Adams saw 5 percent each.
You can read the full report here.