Reports Warn of Dependent Health Coverage Problems

September 22, 2005 ( - Employer-based health care coverage for dependent children has eroded significantly over the past five years, new research shows.

A news release said that that the Kids at Risk report, released by the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education and Working Partnerships USA, also warned that without immediate action, the trend will not change anytime soon.

A second report, Current Strategies to Expand Dependent Health Coverage by researchers at The Economic and Social Research Institute, notes that the decline in employer-sponsored health coverage is highly linked with the rising cost of health coverage, which has substantially outpaced the rise in wages. As a result, workers are increasingly opting out of their employer’s coverage program because they simply cannot afford their share of the cost of rising premiums, according to the report.

According to the reports, increasing health premiums are eroding dependent coverage nationwide, with projections of less than 50% job-based coverage in theGolden State for children in five years. The sharpest drops in dependent coverage are in low and moderate-income families, according the report.

For families in the lower half of the income spectrum, only slightly more than one-quarter of children will be covered through a job. As a result, in a six-year span, 280,000 fewerCalifornia children will be covered on a health policy and 470,000 more will be enrolled in a public health program.

A copy of the UC Berkeley/Working Partnerships USA Report is here .

A copy of the ESRI study is here .