Update Of JEC Report Reveals More Women Experiencing Loss of Health Insurance Due to Job Loss

Mar 20, 2010
Press Release
Washington D.C. – More than two million women have lost their health insurance since the recession began due to their own job loss or their spouse’s job loss, according to new estimates from the Joint Economic Committee. Since December 2007, 1.3 million women lost their health insurance when their spouse lost his job.  Another 800,000 women lost their health coverage as a result of their own job loss.  While job losses during this recession were much greater for men than women, women have fared worse than men in recent months. In the last six months, the number of women losing health insurance benefits due to their own job losses has increased nearly 50 percent.

“The job loss during the Great Recession has resulted in a significant loss of health care coverage for women,” said Chair of the Joint Economic Committee Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney.  “It’s sometimes overlooked that when a job disappears, the health insurance that families count on often disappears too.  In this recession, more than two million women have faced the brutal double-whammy of a lost job and lost health care.”

The data also show that young women are particularly vulnerable to lacking adequate health insurance coverage and have been hit hard by the recession.  With unemployment for young women (ages 19-24) now at 13.1 percent, significantly higher than the national unemployment rate of 9.7 percent, these women are less likely to have job-based coverage.  Over one quarter (26 percent) of all young women do not have health insurance coverage.

The JEC initially released a report on women and healthcare reform in August 2009, with an update in October 2009.  Both reports were prepared by the Majority Staff of the JEC.

To access the October JEC report, Comprehensive Health Insurance Reform: An Essential Prescription for Women, click here.   The newly updated findings follow:

 Updated Findings:

    * The number of women losing health insurance benefits due to their own job loss has increased 45 percent since August 2009, when the October update of this report was released.  Although men were losing jobs faster than women at the start of the recession, this trend reversed in November 2009.  Women have now lost over 2.6 million jobs since the recession began in December 2007. Second, many women whose spouses lost their jobs have also lost their health benefits, because so many women receive coverage through a spouse’s job-based plan. The Joint Economic Committee estimates that 2.1 million women have lost health insurance benefits because of the contraction in the labor market since December 2007. 62 percent (1,286,946) lost their insurance due to a spouse’s job loss. 38 percent (792,673) of those women lost their insurance due to their own job loss.

    * Younger women are particularly vulnerable to lacking adequate health insurance coverage. Over one-quarter (26 percent) of all young women (ages 19-24) do not have health insurance coverage. The weak job market has hit young workers particularly hard, with the unemployment rate amongst young women at 13.1 percent in February 2010, the highest in a quarter century and substantially higher than the national unemployment rate of 9.7 percent. The dismal job market means that young women are less likely than ever to have access to job-based coverage, and many women who once received coverage through a parent’s health insurance plan have seen this coverage evaporate with their parents’ jobs.
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