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Will You Be Covered during the Next Recession? Unequal Safety-Nets for Private Health Insurance in the United States

Published time: 20 May 2020

Authors: Heeju Sohn

Keywords: Private health insurance, Inequality, Recession, United States


Health insurance coverage for working-age adults in the United States is still predominantly determined by their jobs or their spouse’s jobs. This article revealed that SES disparities in access to a spouse’s coverage as a safety-net significantly contributed to the inequities in coverage loss during economic instability. Using the longitudinal Survey of Income and Program Participation (1996–2012), this article examines insurance transitions between socioeconomic groups during the two most recent recessions in the United States. The SES disparity in private coverage spiked during periods of high job-loss. Higher SES men’s and women’s coverages were barely affected as they became insured by their spouses even as they lost their own. Wives’ insurance plans played a large role in mitigating declines in higher SES men’s coverages during the 2008 recession.

Will you be covered during the next recession Unequal safety-nets for private health insurance in the United States



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