Study Finds Employees in All Demographics Losing Health Coverage

April 22, 2008 ( - A study released by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) has found the share of workers nationwide with employer-provided health insurance from their own job fell each year, from 51.1% in 2000 to 48.8% in 2006.

According to the study report, overall, about 6.4 million fewer workers had employer-provided health insurance in 2006 than in 2000. The study found the loss of employer-provided health insurance since 2000 was not only driven by the loss of high-quality jobs, such as those in the manufacturing sector, but was caused by the significant decline in employers providing coverage within existing jobs across the board.

The report noted the loss of coverage occurred among all industries and worker types. “No one is immune to the slow unraveling of the employer-based system,” wrote authors Jared Bernstein and Heidi Shierholz.

Blue-collar workers saw the coverage gains they made in the late 1990s more than eroded in the 2000s, but white-collar workers also saw large declines in coverage in this period. For example, the report data shows the coverage rate for executive, administrative, and managerial workers fell from 66.3% in 2000 to 60.7% in 2006, compared to the coverage rate for machine operators, assemblers, and inspectors which fell from 58.4% to 51.4% in the same period.

Similarly, the report data shows employer-sponsored health care coverage rates for workers with a high school education dropped from 49.6% in 2000 to 45.7% in 2006, while coverage for those with a college degree dropped from 63.9% to 61.2% during the same period.

The authors noted that the decreases in health care coverage have occurred even though the years have seen sold economic growth and an increase in the workforce. They suggest a “broadly shared approach” for the problem such as universal programs that pool risk across large populations, and mandate coverage, with subsidies for those unable to meet the mandate.

The data for the report come from the March Current Population Survey. The report, A Decade of Decline: The Erosion of Employer-Provided Health Care in the United States and California, 1995-2006, is here .