Majority of Employees Confident Employers Will Continue Healthcare Coverage

December 6, 2011 ( The public remains confident employers and unions will continue to offer health coverage.

According to the results of the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s (EBRI) 2011 Health Confidence survey, 57% of individuals with employment-based coverage are extremely or very confident their employer or union would continue to offer health coverage following the enactment of the federal health reform law.

American workers are not confident that they could afford to purchase coverage on their own, even if they were given the money to do so by plan sponsors. In 2011, 20% were extremely or very confident they could afford to purchase coverage; 30% were somewhat confident and 48% were not too or not at all confident.

Statistically significant differences were found by gender and age, but not by education, income, marital status or race. When it comes to health status, persons in excellent, very good and good health or whose health improved or stayed the same were more likely than those in fair or poor health or whose health had declined to be extremely or very confident that they could afford to purchase health coverage. Those whose costs went up in 2011 were less likely than those whose costs did not increase to be confident that they could afford to purchase health coverage on their own.

The survey also found individuals rating the healthcare system highly and those rating their plan highly were more likely than others to be confident that they could afford health coverage on their own

Despite the low confidence levels regarding their ability to afford coverage, individuals reported relatively high likelihoods of purchasing coverage if it was no longer available through work. Nearly two-thirds (63%) reported they were extremely or very likely to purchase coverage on their own if it was not available through work, and another 19% were somewhat confident they would purchase coverage. Less than one in five (17%) were not too or not at all likely to purchase coverage on their own.

A prior report by EBRI also examined trends in public opinion surrounding the future of employment-based health coverage. See Public Confidence in Future of Employer-Sponsored Health Care Falls.  

The full survey findings are published in the December 2011 EBRI Notes, “Variation in Public Opinion on the Future of Employment-Based Health Benefits: Findings from the 2011 Health Confidence Survey,” available at