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Research Brief: Health Insurance during COVID-19

March 2020 U.S. Survey: Methodology & Results

Sidecar Health periodically issues research briefs on healthcare topics based on primary research it conducts or commissions.

For this brief, Sidecar commissioned a survey of 1,500 U.S. residents who lost their jobs and employer-provided health insurance during the time period of March 9 and March 27, 2020 for reasons related to COVID-19.

The nationwide survey was conducted by Pollfish from March 27-29, 2020. Respondents were screened to meet three (3) criteria to qualify for the survey. Criteria included that the respondent currently resided in the U.S. and had lost both their job position and employee-provided insurance in the three weeks prior to the survey.

The 11-question survey was delivered by Pollfish’s mobile polling service which natively integrates with partner apps to deliver surveys to real consumers in targeted demographics while they are organically engaged with the apps on their devices. Respondents are invited using a double opt-in; they confirm their interest and their proprietary backend technology collects and verifies their unique user ID to create a profile, and they join the respondent pool where they may be invited to take a survey if they fit the targeting criteria. The service has access to 685,141,519 consumers worldwide.

Demographics & Industries of Prior Employment

Gender

Male:
672 (55%)
Female:
827 (45%)

Age

18 - 24:
294 (30%)
25 - 34:
488 (33%)
35 - 44:
360 (24%)
45 - 54:
211 (14%)
> 54:
147 (10%)

Industry (of recent employment)

Travel / Hospitality:
149 (10%)
Finance & Insurance:
50 (3%)
Manufacturing:
125 (8%)
Government:
32 (2%)
Arts & Entertainment:
83 (6%)
Construction:
89 (6%)
Food & Beverage:
285 (19%)
Media & Communication:
32 (2%)
Airlines:
14 (1%)
Retail:
191 (13%)
Education:
144 (10%)
Real estate:
22 (1%)
Other:
284 (19%)

Research Highlights

78% of the recently unemployed do not have health insurance (Q2)

84% are concerned (somewhat or very) about lack of health insurance coverage given the risk of coronavirus (Q10)

55% have faced challenges finding health insurance (Q4)

The biggest challenges faced by insurance seekers were high-cost (74%) and lack of options (49%). (Q5)

43% of unlikely (somewhat or very) to seek medical care while without health coverage (Q9)

How concerned, if at all, are you about your lack of health coverage given the current coronavirus outbreak?

coronavirus-concern

Q1. Which industry best describes your previous employment?

Travel / Hospitality
149
10%
Finance & Insurance
50
3%
Manufacturing
125
8%
Government
32
2%
Arts & Entertainment
83
6%
Construction
89
6%
Food & Beverage
285
19%
Media & Communication
32
2%
Airlines
14
1%
Retail
191
13%
Education
144
10%
Real estate
22
1%
Other
284
19%

Q2. Since becoming unemployed, have you evaluated health coverage options available to you?

Yes, I have already found a new health coverage option
336
22.4%
Yes, I am currently looking for options
539
35.9%
No, I have not started looking for options
455
30.3%
No, and I have no plans to obtain health insurance while unemployed
170
11.3%

Q3. What is your plan for health coverage while unemployed (Piped from Q2; n=1330)

COBRA
116
8.7%
Affordable Care
313
23.5%
Short-term health plan
147
11.1%
Spouse's health plan
146
11.0%
Family member's health plan
221
16.6%
I have not looked into my health insurance options yet
278
20.9%
Other
109
8.0%
covid-survey-q3

Q4. Have you faced any challenges while seeking health insurance since becoming unemployed (Piped from Q2; n=1330)

Yes
727
54.7%
No
603
45.3%

Q5. What challenge/s have you faced obtaining health insurance since becoming unemployed? (Piped from Q5; n=727)

Lack of options
358
49.2%
Inability to find an option that works with current providers
209
28.8%
High cost
539
74.1%
Complexity of coverage plans
207
28.5%
Length of time before going into effect
233
32.1%
Red tape associated with setting it up
119
16.4%
Other
3
0.40%

Q6. What is the most you’d be willing to spend per person, per month for health coverage while unemployed?

$50
706
47.1%
$100
419
27.9%
$200
204
13.6%
$300
80
5.3%
$400
33
2.2%
$500
31
2.1%
$600
6
0.4%
$700+
21
1.4%

Q7. How concerned, if at all, are you about the expense of health insurance while unemployed?

Very concerned
845
56.3%
Somewhat concerned
441
29.4%
Not very concerned
130
8.7%
Not concerned at all
84
5.6%
covid-survey-q7

Q8. Have you found health coverage plans available to you to be affordable?

Yes
513
34.2%
No
645
43.0%
I haven’t looked into any plans so I don’t know
342
22.8%

Q9. How likely, if at all, are you to seek medical care for illness while you’re without health coverage?

Very likely
338
22.5%
Somewhat likely
520
34.7%
Not very likely
457
30.5%
Not likely at all
185
12.3%

Q10. How concerned, if at all, are you about your lack of health coverage given the current coronavirus outbreak?

Very concerned
769
51.3%
Somewhat concerned
497
33.1%
Not very concerned
166
11.1%
Not concerned at all
68
4.5%

About Sidecar Health

Sidecar Health offers a new approach to health insurance, allowing its members to pay doctors on the spot at their discounted “self-pay” rate. To do this, Sidecar Health uses multiple data points to come up with an estimate of what procedures should cost and also displays the amount Sidecar Health will pay towards that medical service. This gives members the ability to compare prices from local doctors and pharmacies to ensure they’re getting a fair price, eliminating the issue of “surprise billing”. All members receive a Sidecar Health payment card that lets them take advantage of these discounted self-pay prices. This brings an unprecedented level of transparency and the ability to comparison-shop for medical services and Rx. Plans offered through Sidecar Health cover more than 170,000 medical services (including for treatment for respiratory viruses like COVID-19) and Rx at a price point that can be 40%* or more affordable than traditional plans. Members are able to choose a plan that fits their budget with options ranging from $5,000 - $2 million of health coverage.

*Comparison of premiums and coverage quoted to a 30-year-old person, with no pre-existing health conditions and residing in ZIP code 77002, for a premium policy administered by Sidecar Health and an Oscar Classic Gold plan issued by Oscar, and assuming $5,000 total annual health care spend (as of November 7, 2019). Any policy issued by Sidecar Health is a limited benefits insurance plan and not an expense incurred medical plan. The benefits provided under this plan are limited in nature and are not related to the costs a member may incur for health care services. As a fixed indemnity insurance plan, this plan is exempt from many state and federal requirements that apply to other types of health benefit plans. This policy does not provide major medical expenses coverage, minimum essential coverage or essential health benefits. Coverage is administered by Sidecar Health Insurance Solutions, LLC. Insurance plans in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas are underwritten by United States Fire Insurance Company, 5 Christopher Way, 2nd Floor, Eatontown, NJ 07724. Insurance plans in Arkansas and Kentucky are underwritten by Sirius America Insurance Company, 140 Broadway, 32nd Floor, New York, NY 10005. Coverage under the plans is unavailable to applicants age 65 years or older.

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