In an EBRI press release, director of the EBRI Health Research and Education Project Paul Fronstin said, “The erosion in employment based health benefits is expected to continue to decrease at least until the unemployment rate drops below 5% and as long as the cost of providing health benefits continues to increase.”
The total rate of the uninsured was unchanged in 2004 at just under 16% since the decline in employment based coverage was offset by an increase in government provided public programs, EBRI said.
In addition, the study found that the percentage of workers, nonworking adults, and children with employment-based health benefits all dropped between 2003 and 2004. EBRI attributes this to the trend of small employers either dropping health benefits or requiring workers to pay more for health benefits when they were offered due to a weak labor market and rising health costs.
The study can be found online at www.ebri.org .