24 May, 2022, 10:01 ET
New Policygenius survey finds nearly one in two people financially unprepared for being out of work for more than three months
NEW YORK, May 24, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Two years into the pandemic, most people underestimate the prevalence of long COVID-19, according to a new survey from fintech leader Policygenius. More than half of Americans (61%) estimate that long COVID affects up to 20% of COVID-19 cases, when studies show that it actually affects 31% of North Americans who have contracted COVID-19.
More than one-third of Americans greatly underestimate the likelihood of the post-viral syndrome, with 27% believing the prevalence is "up to 10%" and 8% believing it is "none (0%)."
Americans may also be financially underprepared for contracting long COVID, which leads to lingering symptoms for weeks, months, or even years. Nearly one in two respondents (44%) said they either don't know how they would pay for expenses outside of insurance payouts if they were out of work for three or more months, or said that they couldn't. This number increased to more than half (54%) for people making less than $40,000.
"As we enter a new phase of the pandemic where many people no longer see COVID-19 as a crisis, it's important to increase awareness of the possible long-term ramifications of contracting the virus," Logan Sachon, senior managing editor of research at Policygenius, said. "Long COVID has the potential to last for months or years, and without a safety net like disability insurance, it can be a debilitating event both physically and financially."
The 2022 Policygenius Long COVID Survey also found that:
- When asked about how they would pay for expenses (after insurance payouts, if applicable), 22% didn't know where they'd get the money to pay their bills, and 23% said they wouldn't be able to cover expenses after insurance payouts. The remaining respondents said they would utilize a mix of personal savings (39%), family assistance (18%), credit cards (20%), and/or retirement savings (15%).
- More than one-third (35%) of respondents don't know what kind of insurance they would be able to use to pay for expenses if they were to get long COVID or another chronic illness for longer than three months. Data from LIMRA says that just 14% of Americans have disability insurance, the lowest rate in the last 10 years.
- One-fifth (21%) of respondents think they would be able to use unemployment insurance and/or workers' compensation insurance. However, these types of insurance likely won't be available to them — unemployment insurance is only available if the individual is available to work, and workers' comp may be available to some healthcare workers who get COVID-19 but is unlikely to pay out for most people. Another 18% expect to rely on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), for which someone with a condition with no definitive prognosis (like long COVID-19) would only be eligible once they were out of work for one year.
Policygenius commissioned YouGov to poll 1,241 Americans 18 or older. YouGov conducted this survey online from April 7 to April 8, 2022. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all U.S. adults (aged 18+). You can read more here.
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