Public Confidence in Future of Employer-Sponsored Health Care Falls

November 15, 2011 ( – An article titled “The Public Opinion on the Future of Employment-Based Health Benefits,” published by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), finds public confidence that employers will continue to offer health coverage has fallen. 

Findings show that 57% of individuals with employment-based coverage were extremely or very confident that their employer or union would continue to offer health coverage. This number is down from 68% in 2000.

Although employers claim to be continuing employment-based coverage after the state-based health insurance exchanges will be available in 2014, the article author, Paul Fronstin states there is no way to determine the percentage of employers that may drop employee coverage three or more years from now. He also states that if a few larger employers decide to drop coverage, there is no way to tell what type of “me too” effect this will have on other organizations.

The survey found that if employers do decide to discontinue health care coverage to employees, individuals have a low level of confidence that they can afford to purchase health care coverage on their own, even if their employer or union gave them the money to do so. Twenty percent of respondents 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. 

Despite the low confidence levels in the ability to afford coverage, individuals report a high likelihood of purchasing coverage if it were no longer available through work. Sixty-three percent report they are extremely likely or very likely to purchase coverage on their own if it became unavailable through their employer. Nineteen percent are somewhat confident they would purchase coverage, while 17% are not too or not at all likely to purchase coverage on their own.

The EBRI article concludes with the fact that in 2014, health insurance exchanges will provide information to help potential  purchasers better understand the available health care options. Although the majority of the population states they are very or somewhat confident in their ability to compare different plan options and choose the best plan, most people are not at the extremes, and a public education campaign may be necessary in order to educate individuals on their options.

Click here to view the article in its entirety.