Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A record 3.3 million people filed for unemployment in one week, in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, but people didn't just lose their jobs. Many also lost the health insurance that came with the job.

Why it matters: U.S. workers, even those who feel relatively secure in their health benefits, are a pandemic away from falling into the ranks of the uninsured.

Many of the people losing their jobs right now may not have had coverage to begin with — which would make the coronavirus-related disruption smaller, but still highlights the very large holes in this system. Industries like retail, restaurants and hospitality, as well as small businesses, are less likely to offer coverage

  • The concern: People who get the virus but don't have insurance are susceptible to high medical bills, or even death if they avoid or are denied treatment.

The big picture: People who lose their jobs have some options.

  • COBRA: This option allows people to keep their employer coverage for up to 18 months, which is good for those who are getting treatment and don't want to switch doctors. However, people have to pay the full insurance premium — an average of $1,700 a month for a family plan — which will be unaffordable for most of the newly unemployed.
  • Medicaid: State Medicaid agencies determine eligibility on current income, so this may be the easiest, lowest-cost way for people to get health coverage.
  • Affordable Care Act plans: The health care law created marketplaces for coverage, and people who lose their jobs can sign up outside the standard enrollment window. People may be able to get subsidies, depending on income.
  • Short-term plans: These stopgap plans, promoted by the Trump administration, provide some coverage but often don't cover major hospitalizations.

Yes, but: All of these options have their own administrative hurdles.

The bottom line: "The ACA made health insurance more recession-resistant, but ... there's still significant disruption when you lose your job," said Cynthia Cox, a health insurance expert at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 a.m. ET: 21,243,513 — Total deaths: 766,488— Total recoveries: 13,272,162Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 a.m ET: 5,314,814 — Total deaths: 168,462 — Total recoveries: 1,796,326 — Total tests: 65,676,624Map.
  3. Health: The coronavirus-connected heart ailment that could lead to sudden death in athletes.
  4. States: New York to reopen gyms, bowling alleys, museums.
  5. Business: How small businesses got stiffed — Unemployment starts moving in the right direction.
  6. Politics: Biden signals fall strategy with new ads.

Kamala Harris and the political rise of America's Indian community

Vice presidential hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

When Democrats next week formally nominate the daughter of an Indian immigrant to be vice president, it'll be perhaps the biggest leap yet in the Indian American community's rapid ascent into a powerful political force.

Why it matters: Indian Americans are one of the fastest-growing, wealthiest and most educated demographic groups in the U.S. Politicians work harder every year to woo them. And in Kamala Harris, they'll be represented in a major-party presidential campaign for the first time.

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The cardiac threat coronavirus poses to athletes

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Cardiologists are increasingly concerned that coronavirus infections could cause heart complications that lead to sudden cardiac death in athletes.

Why it matters: Even if just a tiny percentage of COVID-19 cases lead to major cardiac conditions, the sheer scope of the pandemic raises the risk for those who regularly conduct the toughest physical activity — including amateurs who might be less aware of the danger.