Roughly 5.4 million Americans lost their employer-based health insurance during the first four months of the coronavirus pandemic, a recent analysis found.

Families U.S.A. nonprofit advocacy group said the surge in uninsured adults is the highest annual increase on record. The previous record was tallied during the Great Recession in 2008-2009 when 3.9 million Americans lost health coverage.

It was surpassed by 39% during the 2020 pandemic, the worst health crisis in modern US history.

Most Americans get health insurance through their employers, and with a record number of job losses recorded as businesses were forced to shutter to stem the virus’ spread, many individuals lost coverage.

While many states began the process of reopening their economies in May, several early starters in the process have been forced to pull back as cases have swelled again.

Almost half of those who lost insurance through May were in just five of the US’ 50 states: California, Florida, New York, North Carolina and Texas, according to Families U.S.A.

And in eight states, one in five or more adults are now uninsured, including 30% in Texas, and one-in-four in Florida.

Families U.S.A. called on federal lawmakers to include efforts to restore health insurance for individuals who lost it as part of further legislation to remedy the pandemic. Prior legislation totaling billions of dollars largely focused on triaging the direct economic hardships caused by the virus. 

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