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Decade sees sharp decline in employer-based health coverage

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted April 22, 2013

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Fewer Americans are getting health insurance through their employers, according to research from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

From 2000 to 2011, the portion of those receiving employer-based coverage dropped from nearly 70% nationwide to 59.5%. Put in other terms, at the turn of the century, 170.5 million people had this type of coverage. A decade later, only 159 million were enrolled in employer-sponsored insurance.

Several factors are contributing to the decline, such as increases in premium costs. On a national scale, the percentage of employers in the private sector that provided coverage to their employees decreased from 58.9% in 2000 to 52.4% in 2011.

“Employers continue to shoulder about the same percentage of costs for employees’ health insurance as they did 10 years ago, but everyone’s costs have increased dramatically,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, the foundation’s president and CEO, in a statement. “Higher costs naturally translate into fewer employers offering insurance coverage and fewer employees accepting it even when it is offered.”

The research was conducted by the University of Minnesota’s State Health Access Data Assistance Center, a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (link).

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