The COVID-19 pandemic is shaping up to be a stress-test for the post-Affordable Care Act insurance market, which has not yet faced a recession. The crisis has already caused mass layoffs, especially in the restaurant and retail industries, and experts say the individual health insurance exchanges and Medicaid could see record enrollment in the coming months as a result. In the cities that have been hardest-hit so far, like Seattle and Boston, dozens of restaurants and stores have laid off workers or closed as residents practice social distancing. A March 17 NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll found that “18% of employed Americans say they have been let go or have had their work hours reduced because of coronavirus.”
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