Fewer Americans Get Health Coverage Through Employers, Report Says

By Staff Report

Oct. 13, 2008

Three million fewer Americans younger than 65 received health insurance through employers in 2007 compared with 2000, according to a report from the Economic Policy Institute in Washington.

The number of individuals receiving employer-sponsored health insurance from their own or a family member’s employer has declined for seven consecutive years, to 62.9 percent of the under-65 population in 2007 from 68.3 percent in 2000, according to the report.

The report, “The Erosion of Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance,” attributed the growing uninsured population across the country to declines in employer-sponsored health insurance. Despite a slight gain in the number of U.S. individuals younger than 65 with health insurance in general from 2006 to 2007, the overall uninsured population has expanded by 4 million individuals since 2000.

Public health insurance, as opposed to private, nongroup coverage, is the predominant alternative to employer-provided coverage that has been cut, especially for children. Employer-sponsored health insurance for children through their employed parents dropped 6.4 percent from 2000 to 2007, affecting 3.4 million kids. However, coverage for children through Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program increased by about 7 percent.

According to the report, no category of worker has escaped losses in employer-sponsored health insurance since 2000, with every race, education level and work status experiencing declines. Hispanic workers experienced a 3.4 percent decline in employer coverage, compared to a 2.7 percent drop for black workers and a 3.2 percent decrease for white employees.

College-educated workers experienced a 2.6 percent drop in coverage from 2000 to 2007; high school-educated workers, a 6.3 percent drop. Full-time employees saw a 3.3 percent drop in coverage, and part-time employees saw a 5.9 percent drop in coverage.

Filed by Kristin Gunderson Hunt of Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail Management’s online news feed is now available via Twitter.

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