A Healthy You: Uninsured people more likely to have severe cases of COVID-19

A Healthy You

(WEHT) – A new study finds those who don’t have insurance or are underinsured are more likely to become severely ill if infected with the coronavirus.

A lack of insurance or living in one of the 14 states that haven’t expanded Medicaid may cause a COVID-19 illness to be more severe, according to the new study.

The research published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found that more than 18 million Americans who are at an increased risk of a severe form of COVID-19 have little or no insurance.
Those who don’t have adequate insurance coverage may delay care because of treatment cost concerns. That could increase the risk that they will have more severe symptoms and be more likely to further spread the disease.

The authors from Harvard Medical School, The City University of New York at Hunter College, and the Cambridge Health Alliance wrote that people who are more likely to be underinsured or uninsured tended to be people of color, people who have limited family income, and people who lived in rural areas. They say those who live in a state without a Medicaid expansion are 52 percent more likely to be inadequately insured, compared to people who lived in states that had expanded Medicaid.

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(This story was originally published on June 16, 2020)

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