For Some, Coverage Delayed Is Coverage Denied: Report

July 11, 2001 ( ? Group health insurance is not an option for many US workers who are without coverage due to tight eligibility policies, a new study finds.

According to the journal of Health Affairs, nearly 25% of employees working at companies that offer benefits are ineligible, due to:

  • waiting periods for new employees
  • exclusions for part-time workers, and
  • high employee contribution requirements

The study found that of 2,000 employers surveyed in 1999, only 31% offer coverage that begins immediately, while at 11% of companies workers have to wait at least a quarter for eligibility to kick in.

In addition, the study found that only 41% of part-time workers were eligible for benefits available to full-time workers.

Another factor in coverage was the cost of coverage itself. As employee contributions to health plans rise, enrollment falls.

Not surprisingly, lower wage workers were found to be more sensitive to price, based on lower percentages of enrollment in firms with lower-wage workers, according to the journal of Health Affairs