Employment-Based Health Coverage Rate Continues to Shrink

May 23, 2012 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – The percentage of workers with employment-based health coverage continues to shrink despite an uptick after the recession, according to a report by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).

Between December 2007, when the most recent economic recession officially started, and June 2009, when the recession technically ended, the percentage of workers with coverage in their own name fell from 60.4% to 56%. While that figure increased by almost one percentage point by the end of 2009, the coverage rate was down to 55.8% by April 2011.

“While the link between health insurance coverage and employment has long been known, these data underscore the degree to which unemployment rates directly affect the levels of the uninsured in the United States,” said Paul Fronstin, director of EBRI’s Health Research and Education Program and author of the report.

Trends in the percentage of workers offered coverage and the percentage of workers taking coverage when offered have remained steady. The EBRI report notes that most uninsured workers reported that they did not have coverage because of cost: anywhere from 70% to 90% over the December 1995 to July 2011 period. 

Employment-based health benefits are the most common form of health insurance for non-poor and non-elderly individuals in the United States, covering 69% of workers, 35% of non-working adults and 55% of children, according to EBRI.

Visit www.ebri.org to review the full report.

Jay Polansky