Some 6 in 10 people in the U.S. have been financially impacted by COVID-19. Those most negatively affected by the pandemic tend to be younger, Gen Z age group and African-American, 63% of whom felt financial pressure directly due from the virus and the national economic lockdown.

By late May 2020, 34% of black Americans had lost their jobs compared with 21% in late April, compared with 18% of white consumers, reported in The COVID-19 Pandemic’s Financial Impact on U.S. Consumers, survey research from TransUnion.

This post describes data from TransUnion’s Wave 9 report, which polled 2,086 U.S. adults 18 and older on 28-29 May 2020.

Among people in the U.S. whose household income has been impacted by the coronavirus, the most likely reason is that the worker’s hours had been reduced, reported by 39%. The next most-likely reasons for income disruption were a partner losing a job or having reduced hours on the job (26%) or losing a job themselves (23%).

People who have been impacted believe they’ll be unable to make their household budgets, with an average estimated shortfall of $985.20, TransUnion calculated. The top budget line items most hard-hit will be housing (mortgages and rent), utilities, and mobile phone and Internet bills. Credit card bills ranked top for 43% of U.S. consumers, most notably for Baby Boomers (at 55%).

One in three people in the U.S. have postponed or cancelled a medical encounter due to COVID-19, such as an elective surgery, a medical appointment, or a procedure.

40% of those who didn’t partake in that medical experience due to the pandemic plan to reschedule the service “as soon as” the provider allows them to do so. 28% of Americans said they’d reschedule the medical service once they “no longer believe” there is a high risk of COVID-19 infection in returning to a health care provider. 15% of consumers cancelling health care plan to reschedule once they hear guidelines advising that it’s safe to do so.

In addition to medical care, over one-half of U.S. consumers are delaying a vacation. At least one in five people are delaying home improvement projects and purchasing autos (varying by age).

As we track fertility trends some months from now, note that 14% of Gen Z and 16% of Millennials are mindfully delaying having children.

Overall, these younger generations are also more likely to skip medical scheduling than Gen X and Boomers, TransUnion found.

Health Populi’s Hot Points:  “COVID-19 has exacted a heavy toll on the United States, claiming lives as well as livelihoods,” research from McKinsey observes in a June 2020 survey report, Redefining value and affordability in retail’s next normal.

In fact, health care is tightly integrated into our household economies and so in the pandemic, the economy, uncertainty about the duration of COVID-19, and public are Americans’ top three concerns for their nation.

The recession of 2020 (which may last into 2021) was quickly ushered in due to the lockdown of the U.S. (and global) economy. McKinsey’s analysis points out an important difference or “layer of complexity” in the coronavirus-era economy: the severe threat to consumers’ health and safety.

This risk has shifted consumers-as-purchasers to e-commerce channels, as well as fewer in-person trips to retail stores. Before COVID-19, Americans shopped 4.4 stores on average per week. As of May 2020, shoppers went to 2.8 stores per week, on average.

The analog here for the health consumer is that millions of U.S. patients and their health care providers migrated to telehealth and virtual care platforms beginning in February 2020 as the coronavirus threat emerged. This week a bipartisan group of 30 Senators have come together to craft legislation that would make telehealth a permanent part of the U.S. health care system in terms of payment, regulatory regimes, and other key pillars that would mainstream virtual care. Tomorrow (17 June 2020), the Senate HELP Committee will convene hearings on telehealth and what we’ve learned in the COVID era, featuring among other experts Dr. Joseph Kvedar who is President of the American Telemedicine Association, and leads virtual care at Harvard Med School and Mass General Brigham.

Watch this space, especially next week beginning on 22nd June as the ATA kicks off the organization’s annual conference — this year, appropriately….virtually! Here’s the agenda, hoping to see you “there” — I’ll be online on Monday at 440 pm brainstorming with a brilliant panel, Onward Together: Prioritizing Equality, Safety, Trust, and Partnership in All Care. The perfect topic at this very moment…

 

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