Women Less Likely to Receive Employer Health Coverage as Employees: Analysis

By Jerry Geisel

Dec. 19, 2011

The percentage of adult women who receive health care plan coverage through their employer is falling and is much lower than adult men, according to a new analysis.

Last year, 35 percent of women age 18 through 64 had coverage through their employer, down from 38 percent in 2008, the Kaiser Family Foundation analysis released Dec. 19 found. By contrast, 44 percent of adult men had coverage through their employer last year, down from 48 percent in 2008.

On the other hand, adult women are far more likely to receive employment-based coverage as a dependent compared with men, the analysis found.

In 2010, 24 percent of adult women received employment-based coverage as a dependent compared with 14 percent of adult men. Those percentages changed little from 2008.

This disparity, the analysis notes, places women at a greater risk of losing employment-based coverage should her spouse die or should they divorce. While women in such situations would have the right to receive COBRA continuation coverage for up to 18 months due to divorce and up to 36 months due to death of a spouse, the woman would have to pay the full premium.

The analysis is based on U.S. Bureau of the Census research.

Jerry Geisel writes for Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, email

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Jerry Geisel writes for Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management.

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