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Pandemic-related job cuts have led 14.6M in U.S. to lose insurance

Up to 7.7 million U.S. workers lost jobs with employer-sponsored health insurance during the coronavirus pandemic, and 6.9 million of their dependents also lost coverage, a new study finds.

Workers in manufacturing, retail, accommodation and food services were especially hard-hit by job losses, but unequally impacted by losses in insurance coverage.

Manufacturing accounted for 12% of unemployed workers in June. But because the sector has one of the highest rates of employer-sponsored coverage at 66%, it accounted for a bigger loss of jobs with insurance — 18% — and 19% of potential coverage loss when dependents are included.

Nearly 3.3 million workers in accommodation and food services had lost their jobs as of June — 30% of the industry’s workforce. But only 25% of workers in the sector had employer-sponsored insurance before the pandemic. Seven percent lost jobs with employer-provided coverage.

The situation was similar in the retail sector. Retail workers represented 10% of pre-pandemic employment and 14% of unemployed workers in June. But only 4 in 10 retail workers had employer-sponsored insurance before the pandemic. They accounted for 12% of lost jobs with employer-sponsored insurance and 11% of potential loss including dependents.

The study was a joint project of the Employee Benefit Research Institute, the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research and the Commonwealth Fund.

“Demographics also play an important role. Workers ages 35 to 44 and 45 to 54 bore the brunt of [employer insurance]-covered job losses, in large part because workers in these age groups were the most likely to be covering spouses and other dependents,” said Paul Fronstin, director of EBRI’s Health Research and Education Program.

“The adverse effects of the pandemic recession also fell disproportionately on women,” Fronstin added in an EBRI news release. “Although women made up 47% of pre-pandemic employment, they accounted for 55% of total job losses.”

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on COVID-19.

Copyright 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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How we can help the unemployed keep their health insurance

Keith Prisco is a stagehand at the United Center in Chicago and a proud union member of IATSE Local 2. Like tens of millions of Americans, he receives health insurance through his employer for himself and his family. The security of this coverage is even more important for Keith after he was diagnosed with leukemia four years ago. But when COVID-19 put a screeching halt on live events, that meant Keith was out of work — jeopardizing his health care coverage in the middle of a pandemic.

As COVID-19 continues to threaten the health and safety of Americans, millions of workers have found themselves under threat of losing their jobs, their health coverage, and their financial savings — all through no fault of their own.

It is unconscionable that unemployed or furloughed workers could also lose health coverage during a public health crisis, yet there are an estimated 10 to 15 million Americans who have lost their employer-sponsored health insurance since the pandemic began. Many unemployed Americans would prefer to remain on their employer health plan, known as COBRA, but it is often prohibitively expensive — on average, $1,700 per month for a family.

From the earliest days of this crisis, the Chicago labor movement and Sen. Durbin identified continuing health coverage for working people as a critical issue.

That’s why labor unions, health care providers, and consumer organizations are joining with Congress to call for the passage of the Worker Health Coverage Protection Act, a bill introduced by Sen. Durbin that would protect millions of unemployed or furloughed workers from losing their health insurance by enabling them to access subsidized COBRA coverage and keep their insurance. The bill would provide a 100 percent subsidy of COBRA health insurance premiums owed by unemployed workers, in nearly all employment-based health plans, to ensure that they do not lose coverage due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is an emergency measure Congress must take to protect the health and safety of American workers as we all battle the ongoing crisis. In fact, similar federal support for COBRA was provided following the 2008 financial crisis.

The Worker Health Coverage Protection Act would allow workers who have been involuntarily terminated in nearly all employment-based health plans, including private sector plans, multiemployer plans, state and local government plans, and the Federal Health Benefits Program, to access subsidized COBRA coverage.

As we work to safeguard the coverage gains and patient protections of the Affordable Care Act, and expand its reach to help lower costs for consumers, this important legislation is an immediate way to prevent Americans from losing coverage.

If you lost your job because of the pandemic, you should not also lose your health coverage. Not only is that common sense, but it is sound economic policy that will help working people bounce back stronger.

The House of Representatives has already passed the Worker Health Coverage Protection Act as part of the HEROES Act in May, and Senate Democrats introduced the bill last week. We cannot

Discount Dental Plans Vs Dental Insurance

Everyone wants white tooth, and they don’t need to spend the money for expensive dental whitening processes. Nevertheless, in case your gums present a special aspect or start to bleed regularly, it is important to go to a dentist. She or he is in the business of maintaining and fixing teeth-that is the place the true cash is-and so all promotions should reflect the dentist’s services, not facet jobs.

After defending the gums, the gel is applied but not before eradicating plaque on the floor of the teeth. Always brush your enamel and different mouth elements gently and without utilizing much strain.Excessive pressure can harm the gums and still can contribute to the erosion of enamel.

Another common drawback that dentists fail to talk about upfront is that veneers are vulnerable to breaking or falling off the surface of teeth. Many dentists additionally work evenings and weekends with a view to meet their patients’ needs. Well being care is in regards to the well-being of individuals.

It causes chilly sweats, nervousness and severe nervousness.” A survey by Submit Office Telecom in 2010 had revealed that the stress levels evoked by the anxiousness of being without a cell phone equated to the stress of visiting a dentist, transferring houses and even getting married.

Beauty Dentistry also referred to as as ‘Esthetic Dentistry’ is offered by skilled dentists who attempt to mix function with esthetics. There are not any important unwanted effects to chair-aspect bleaching as care is taken to protect the gums. We all need not just a stunning smile, but healthy tooth and gums.…

Even as the Economy Grew, More Children Lost Health Insurance

The share of children with health coverage in the United States fell for the third consecutive year in 2019, according to census data, after decades of increases.

The decline occurred during a period of economic growth — before the coronavirus pandemic caused broad job losses that might have cost many more Americans their health insurance.

A report Friday by the Georgetown Center for Children and Families found that the ranks of uninsured children grew the most in Texas and Florida, and that Latino children were disproportionately affected. Nationally, the number of children without health insurance rose by 320,000 last year alone, to a total of nearly 4.4 million children, the report found.

“What’s so troubling about this data is we were making so much progress as a country,” said Joan Alker, the center’s executive director and an author of the report. “And now that progress is clearly reversing.”

The picture since the start of the pandemic is less clear. Many families have lost jobs that came with health coverage, which could increase the number of children without insurance. But national enrollment in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has also swelled, aided by temporary policies to prevent families from losing coverage during the emergency. More current estimates for the uninsured rates among children will take time.

In recent years, falling enrollment in Medicaid and CHIP drove the overall changes, according to the report. Although those programs for low- and middle-income children are primarily managed by state governments, Trump administration policies could be playing a role: The administration has encouraged states to check eligibility more often, which advocacy groups say has caused many families to lose coverage because of paperwork errors and missed deadlines.

And the administration’s policies on immigrant families have caused some to end enrollment for their children even though they are eligible citizens, according to child welfare groups in several states with the largest drops. In particular, the “public charge” rule makes it harder for immigrants to be approved for green cards if they have received public benefits or are deemed likely to receive them in the future.

“They were coming to me saying: ‘Please close my case. I don’t want to get into any trouble,’” said Graciela Camarena, outreach program director in the Rio Grande Valley for the Texas branch of the Children’s Defense Fund, a group that helps enroll children in health coverage. Ms. Camarena said most clients would not be affected by the public charge policy if they signed up their children, but news of the rule had produced widespread concern.

Lost your job and health insurance? Here is what you need to know

As the global pandemic enters its seventh month, millions of Americans lack health insurance. 

According to research by the Economic Policy Institute published in late August and taking into account jobs gained back after the worst of the shutdowns during the spring, the coronavirus pandemic has left more than six million Americans without job-sponsored health insurance. When you take into account dependents, that number rises to more than 12 million. 

“Though we don’t yet know precisely how damaging the Covid-19 shock has been to health insurance access, the shock has laid bare the huge uncertainty that employer-linked health insurance introduces into U.S. families’ lives. Even in normal times millions of U.S. households must manage coverage transitions in a given month. During economic crises, these coverage changes increasingly include transitioning into uninsured status, which puts families’ health and financial security at risk,” wrote Josh Bivens, author of the report and director of research at the Economic Policy Institute. 

Job gains have slowed and many economists worry about more layoffs. Disney recently announced 28,000 additional job losses and airline employees remain in limbo as the talks over a federal stimulus package continue. Restaurants and other small business owners say that without more federal aid they will go under and be unable to bring workers back.

More from Invest in You: 
Op-ed: Why financial planning improves your health
4 steps people can take to start building wealth, even in a recession
The costs of telehealth visits have shifted amid Covid-19

What to do if you lost health coverage

The first thing you’ll want to do is talk to a human resources representative in your company to determine when your coverage will officially end. Coverage may end immediately or you might have until the end of the month, but there is no blanket rule.

Newly uninsured people will have three options to pick coverage: COBRA, the ACA marketplace or a public plan like Medicaid or Medicare. 

You can also consult a local agent or assister near you to help navigate coverage options. 

COBRA, or the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, allows for workers who worked for a company with at least 20 full-time employees and were enrolled under their employers’ insurance for at least a day, to continue to pay their workplace insurance plan for a period of time. However, COBRA coverage is not available for people who lost coverage because their company went out of business. 

An eligible person has 60 days to sign up for COBRA coverage. Keep in mind that there is no financial assistance from the government to help with premiums. This often makes COBRA unaffordable for those out of work. 

For a lot of people, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace will provide cheaper options. Like COBRA you’ll have 60 days to sign up from when you lose your coverage. 

Some plans may still be too expensive for some. To figure out what you can afford, ask these questions:

  • What is the maximum you can spend per month on

Shores man threatens to kill his dentist over insurance issue with dentures



a person posing for the camera: Moussa Assi


© Jail mug
Moussa Assi

A Daytona Beach Shores man unhappy insurance would no longer pay for adjustment of his dentures wanted his dentist dead, saying he would step on her with his shoe as she died, police said.

Records show Moussa Assi, 64, was booked into the Volusia County Branch Jail on Wednesday on charges of threats or extortion. He was in jail Thursday on $5,000 bail.

Assi threatened to kill dentist Jenna Obeng if she did not pay him double what was paid to her by insurance company Humana, a police report states.

“On Oct. 6, I will end her life. I will step on her with my shoe while she is dying,” Assi said on a voicemail message to the dentist, the report states.

In one call, Assi also said “I hope your entire family dies of coronavirus,” according to a police report.

Obeng contacted police Tuesday, saying Assi called and said he was on his way to Dental USA Family Dentistry at 1540 Cornerstone Blvd. in Daytona, investigators said.

Police said Assi called Obeng up to 10 times a day, accusing her of stealing money from the insurance company and threatening her life and that of her family, a report states.

This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: Daytona police: Shores man threatens to kill his dentist over insurance issue with dentures

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Man threatens to kill his dentist over insurance issue with dentures



a person posing for the camera: Moussa Assi


© Jail mug
Moussa Assi

A Daytona Beach man unhappy insurance would no longer pay for adjustment of his dentures wanted his dentist dead, saying he would step on her with his shoe as she died, police said.

Records show Moussa Assi, 64, was booked into the Volusia County Branch Jail on Wednesday on charges of threats or extortion. He was in jail Thursday on $5,000 bail.

Assi threatened to kill dentist Jenna Obeng if she did not pay him double what was paid to her by insurance company Humana, a police report states.

“On Oct. 6, I will end her life. I will step on her with my shoe while she is dying,” Assi said on a voicemail message to the dentist, the report states.

In one call, Assi also said “I hope your entire family dies of coronavirus,” according to a police report.

Obeng contacted police Tuesday, saying Assi called and said he was on his way to Dental USA Family Dentistry at 1540 Cornerstone Blvd. in Daytona, investigators said.

Police said Assi called Obeng up to 10 times a day, accusing her of stealing money from the insurance company and threatening her life and that of her family, a report states.

This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: Daytona police: Man threatens to kill his dentist over insurance issue with dentures

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Medicare vs. Medicaid: What Is the Difference? | Health Insurance

ALTHOUGH THEY WERE BORN ON THE SAME DAY, Medicare and Medicaid are not identical twins. And even though they have been around for 55 years, many people still confuse these government-backed two healthcare programs.

On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed the laws that created Medicare and Medicaid as part of his Great Society programs to address poverty, inequality, hunger and education issues. Both Medicare and Medicaid offer health care support, but they do so in very different ways and mostly to different constituencies.

According to the Medicare Rights Center:

  • Medicare is a federal program that provides health coverage to those age 65 and older, or to those under 65 who have a disability, with no regard to personal income.
  • Medicaid is a combined state and federal program that provides health coverage to those who have a very low income, regardless of age.

Some people may be eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, known as dually eligible, and can qualify for both programs. The two programs work together to provide health coverage and lower costs, the MRC says. And although Medicare and Medicaid are both health insurance programs administered by the government, there are differences in the services they cover and in the ways costs are shared.

Medicare is a federal health insurance program. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the program pays medical bills from trust funds that working people have paid into during their employment. It offers essentially the same coverage and costs everywhere in the United States and is overseen by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency of the federal government.

Medicare is designed primarily to serve people over 65, whatever their income, and younger disabled people and dialysis patients who are diagnosed with end-stage renal disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or transplant). Patients pay a portion of their medical costs through deductibles for hospital and other services. They also pay small monthly premiums for non-hospital coverage.

Medicare has two parts. Part A covers hospital care, and Part B covers other services like doctor’s appointments, outpatient treatment and other medical expenses. HHS says you are eligible for premium-free Part A if you are age 65 or older and you or your spouse worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years. You can get Part A at age 65 without having to pay premiums if:

  • You receive retirement benefits or are eligible to receive benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board.
  • You or your spouse had Medicare-covered government employment.

If you are under age 65, you can get Part A without having to pay premiums if:

  • You have been entitled to Social Security or Railroad Retirement Board disability benefits for 24 months.
  • You are a kidney dialysis or kidney transplant patient.

HHS says that most people do not have to pay a premium for Part A, but everyone must pay a premium for Part B. This is deducted monthly from your Social Security, railroad

Companies are making some changes for employees health insurance amid the pandemic

More coverage for virtual doctors’ visits. Expanded mental health benefits. Access to on-site health clinics.



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As employees sign up for job-based coverage for 2021, they’ll find the coronavirus pandemic has changed some of the benefits that their companies are providing, experts said.

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And they’ll also see their premiums and out-of-pocket costs increase about 5%, which is more than wages and inflation have been rising, according to the Business Group on Health, which surveys large employers.

This bump comes on top of a 4% increase in premiums this year, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s annual employer health benefits survey. In 2020, the average annual premiums hit nearly $7,500 for single coverage and $21,500 for family coverage. Deductibles stayed roughly the same at about $1,650 for a single person.

One of the biggest changes for 2021 will be a growth in the number and types of virtual care options, said Steve Wojcik, the group’s vice president of public policy. Employers had long offered telehealth, but few of their staffers actually used it.

The pandemic changed all that. Utilization soared as Americans sought medical care from the safety of their homes.

Some 53% of large employers will offer more virtual care options next year, the group found. And they are extending the services to weight management, prenatal care and management of chronic diseases, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Coronavirus, as well as the accompanying economic upheaval, has also greatly affected many Americans’ mental health. Companies plan to bolster their support and make employees more aware of the offerings available to them, said Mark Hope, senior director at Willis Towers Watson.

Some 45% of large employers are planning to work with their insurers to expand mental health provider networks, according to the Business Group on Health report.

Some 91% of large employers said they would offer virtual mental health services in 2021, up from 73% in 2019. And 65% said they would provide virtual emotional well-being services next year, up from 45% in 2019.

And nearly nine in 10 employers will offer access to online mental health resources, including apps, videos and webinars.

Meanwhile, 61% of employers plan to have an on-site clinics, which can provide coronavirus testing, in addition to basic health services. This ticked up from 58% this year.

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Health Insurance Start-Up Addresses ‘Health Insurance Deserts’

New Partnership Allows Decent to Offer Health Plans to Small Businesses, Self-Employed in Texas’ Rural Communities

Decent's virtual health plans can make accessing a doctor easier, especially in areas facing a primary care shortage.
Decent’s virtual health plans can make accessing a doctor easier, especially in areas facing a primary care shortage.
Decent’s virtual health plans can make accessing a doctor easier, especially in areas facing a primary care shortage.

Austin, Texas, Oct. 07, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Decent, an Austin, Texas-based startup disrupting the health insurance industry through a partnership with the Texas Freelance Association, will soon offer health plans in small and rural towns throughout the state, expanding access to health insurance in regions where there has always been limited availability.

“Most rural Texans live in ‘health insurance deserts’ where there is just one expensive health plan option that costs more than their mortgage. It means many forego coverage altogether,” explained Nick Soman, CEO and co-founder of Decent.

Decent is able to extend its unique health plans to small businesses in rural Texas in addition to major cities such as Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas, under a partnership with AXA, a global leader in insurance, which allows Decent to use its extensive medical network for wraparound coverage for its members and immediate families. In 2018, Decent, with the Texas Freelance Association, launched health plans for self-employed individuals in Austin, Texas and recently announced it would also offer health plans to small businesses.

“Small businesses and entrepreneurs often are presented with two inadequate choices – health insurance that is expensive or health insurance that is skimpy,” explained Soman. “We started Decent to give groups left out of the current marketplace access to health insurance, which should be available no matter where you live.”

Rethinking Rural Health Insurance

Texas has one of the largest rural populations in the U.S., making up about 10 percent of the state’s total population of 29 million. Health insurance deserts refers to geographic areas where there is only one option for private insurance.

“Most rural Americans work for small businesses, yet many small businesses can’t afford to offer the available healthcare options to their employees. It’s a ‘lose-lose’ for everyone. We’re re-thinking how it can be done and done well,” said Soman.

Decent’s health plans are unique in two major ways, explains Soman. Decent helps small businesses and entrepreneurs band together to take advantage of a business practice called “self-insurance” to “level the playing field” with large employers who have been using self-insurance for years to control and reduce medical costs. Decent can do this by pooling categories of small businesses, such as technology firms and oil and gas companies.

The health insurance startup also prioritizes free primary care to help members access it when they need helpful guidance to avoid unnecessary trips to expensive points of care, such as freestanding emergency rooms (ERs) and hospital ERs. Small businesses in rural Texas will have access to Decent’s “virtual health plan,” the first of its kind in the U.S., which offers members a dedicated U.S.-based primary care physician anytime and anywhere via