Below is the letter we will send to the executives of major health insurance providers:
Demand insurance companies prioritize the health of Black people. Many Black people are facing lay-offs and should not be expected to pay COBRA.
Roughly half of American health insurance is provided through an employer. If you lose your job, you’re typically eligible for COBRA which will allow an employee to keep the same employer provided health insurance. However, with claims of unemployment soaring by the day, the idea of paying a COBRA premium along with maintaining a household is absurd.
Insurance companies have waived prior authorizations and co-pays but this is not enough. Major insurance providers should step up and protect Black people instead of forcing them to shell out an outrageous fee to stay alive. The cost of COBRA coverage is estimated at $633 a month depending on the bi-weekly deductions from wages, and as Many Black people are facing lay-offs and should not be expected to shell out money for health care coverage.
Statistics are confirming that Black people are disproportionately dying due to coronavirus, and more than ever Black people need the security of health insurance coverage to combat the costs of care associated with coronavirus. The highest jobless rate during the Great Recession, which ended in 2009, was 10%. According to projections, the nation’s unemployment rate could approach 32% - with over 10 million unemployment claims filed within the last two weeks. In today’s volatile economic climate, no one should be expected to pay for COBRA to be protected from coronavirus.
Sign The Petition: Demand insurance companies don’t kick Black people off their insured rolls.
Here is the Petition:
Dear Health Insurance Provider Executive,
I’m writing on behalf of Color Of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization, which has more than 1.7 million members. We are calling on your business to prioritize the health of Black people and not kick Black people off your insured rolls. More than ever Black people need health insurance. In Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, 81 percent of the deaths were black people while Black people make up only 26 percent of that county. In Chicago’s Cook County 70 percent of coronavirus deaths are black, while black residents make up only 23 percent of the population in the county. It is clear, Black people are disportionately dying from coronavirus and need continued health care insurance.
Black people are already systematically disadvantaged due to access to health care, lack of cultural competence by providers, and implicit bias in rendering healthcare services, and the threat of coronavirus adds an additional layer to these quality-of-life issues. Roughly half of American health insurance is provided through an employer and with the rate of unemployment claims rising by the day, many Black people will be left helpless in the face of coronavirus without healthcare coverage. Due to the current economic strain on families, COBRA premiums are not an option. State issued waivers to modify certain Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) are not enough, as these expansions do not cover all low-income coronavirus testing and treatment - leaving Black people further excluded and targeted through policy that does not consider our needs.
As a provider of coverage in the time of medical need, your business has the power to play a critical role in flattening this virus curve of contraction and reverse the negative effects this pandemic will have on Black people and communities. If no other time, it is imperative that entities in power focus on one of the most vulnerable communities in need and prioritize the health of Black people.