Workplace Health Coverage Falls, Despite Economic Recovery

Despite economic data showing that the recession is over, the percentage of workers with health benefits still remains low, according to a new report by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).

Links between the employment rate and health insurance coverage have been documented over the years. Since most workers in the United States get their health coverage through their jobs, a rise or drop in the unemployment rate usually means a corresponding rise or drop in the uninsured rate as well, the report states.

By looking at health insurance coverage rates month by month, EBRI was able to track a more detailed picture of the uninsured. Specifically, it found that between December 2007 and August 2009 (immediately before and after the recession), the percentage of workers with coverage in their own names fell from 60.4 percent to 55.9 percent. By December 2009, the official end of the recession, the percentage of workers with employment-based coverage rose to 56.6 percent. However, by October 2011, coverage had slipped back to 54.7 percent, even though the economy had expanded.

The reason for the decline in uninsured workers is cost, whether of employment-based coverage or coverage that they could purchase directly from an insurer, according to 90 percent of workers surveyed, EBRI officials say.

But the link between health benefits and employment remains strong, the report says. In 2011, 58.4 percent of nonelderly individuals (under age 65) were covered by an employment-based health-benefits plan, including 68.3 percent of workers, 34.7 percent of non working adults, and 54.7 percent of children. As a result, employment-based health benefits remain the most common form of health insurance for those who are not poor or elderly.

The full report is published in the July EBRI Notes, “Tracking Health Insurance Coverage by Month: Trends in Employment-Based Coverage Among Workers, and Access to Coverage Among Uninsured Workers, 1995‒2012,” can be found online.

Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) , July 18, 2013

Healthcare Trends & Forecasts in 2013: Performance Expectations for the Healthcare Industry

Healthcare Trends & Forecasts in 2013: Performance Expectations for the Healthcare Industry provides sector-specific guidance for the next 12 months from three key thought leaders, and is supplemented with data from HIN’s ninth annual HIN Healthcare Trends and Forecasts survey, in which more than 150 responding healthcare organizations identified the top issues facing them, predicted the impact of 2013 ACA mandates on business, and shared the best and worst business decisions of 2012 and the lessons learned from both.

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