If Empire State companies do what they say, three out of four workers will have to contend with pricier insurance costs, according to the study by the Commonwealth Fund, a New York research group.
A story about the study from Washington-based legal publisher BNA said 41% of employee benefit managers at New York companies predicted higher employee insurance payments. That includes 73% of large companies and 58% of medium-sized ones.
The survey also found that workers in low-wage New York companies are less likely to be offered health insurance than their counterparts nationally. Among employers who do not offer health insurance, 64% cited high premiums as a reason and 42% said they believe their employees are covered elsewhere, the study said.
Among companies with 35% or more of workers making $20,000 or less nationwide, 52% offered health benefits. In New York, only 41% of such firms offered health benefits, the study said.
Among employers who do not offer health insurance, nearly two-thirds (64%) cited high premiums as a reason, and 42% said they believe their employees are covered elsewhere.
However, among uncovered workers, job loss was identified as a leading reason for loss of health insurance coverage. Two thirds of uninsured adults during the 12-month period covered by the survey had previously been covered through their own job or their spouse’s. Most (52%) lost health benefits because either they or their spouses became unemployed.
While most workers who lose their jobs are eligible to keep their health insurance coverage for a period of time (COBRA), but just one in four workers (23%) indicated that they would be “very likely” to purchase COBRA coverage if they lost their jobs, and just 16% of lower-income workers would continue coverage.
The report was based on telephone interviews with 599 human resources and benefits professionals from May through November 2001.
The survey is at http://www.cmwf.org/programs/insurance/574_Whitmore_empire_state.pdf
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