Employees upping health, increasing life insurance policies amid COVID-19 outbreak

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The harrowing coronavirus pandemic is forcing an increasing number of employees to reevaluate their insurance coverage with nearly 30% either enrolling in or upping their life insurance plans for the first time.

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According to new research from employee benefits provider Unum, more than 1 in 3 workers (36%) are planning to enroll in different benefits this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

CORONAVIRUS JOB CRISIS CAUSES HISTORIC LOSS OF HEALTH INSURANCE

Meanwhile, 27% of workers plan to enroll for the first time or increase their coverage in life insurance, 14% for hospital insurance, and 12% for short- and long-term disability insurance.

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Another 12% plan to enroll for the first time or increase their coverage in critical illness coverage, according to the findings.

Overall, 64% plan to pay more attention to their employee benefits and spend more time reviewing and understanding them compared to years past.

"Today's pandemic reminds us we need to be prepared for life's unexpected health events," Rob Hecker, vice president of Global Total Rewards at Unum, said, adding that it will be "one of the most important financial decisions" employees will make all year.

However, not every employee is in the same boat due to the fallout from the virus.

While more employees are drawing concern over their health plans, droves of others are grappling with how to obtain insurance after a swath of industries were forced to lay off employees in an attempt to weather the virus-related economic downturn.

Although the number of Americans applying for state unemployment benefits dropped to its lowest level last week since March, it still remains significantly higher than pre-pandemic times.

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The latest jobless claims figures from the Labor Department, which cover the week ending Nov. 7, show that 709,000 workers sought aid last week, about four times the pre-crisis level.

This poses an issue for those hundreds of thousands of workers trying to obtain health insurance through their employers.

According to the Common Wealth Fund, employer-sponsored health insurance (ESI) is the most common form of health insurance in the United States.

In 2019, 55.4% of people had employer-provided coverage, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. This is a slight uptick from 55.2% in 2018.

FOX Business' Megan Henney contributed to this report. 

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