The rate of U.S. workers with employer-sponsored health insurance plans is continuing to decline, while the percentage of individuals with public health insurance coverage is growing, according to a new report from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, Modern Healthcare reports (Zigmond, Modern Healthcare, 9/27).
The report was based on an analysis of the latest data on uninsured individuals in 2011 from the U.S. Census Bureau, with a focus on the nonelderly population under age 65 (Norman, CQ HealthBeat, 9/27).
Citing the census data, EBRI Senior Research Associate Paul Fronstin wrote, "While the number of uninsured individuals in the United States decreased in 2011, fewer people were covered by employment-based health plans -- a trend reflective of job losses from the 2002-2009 recession and continuing slow economic recovery."
Details of Report
The report noted that the percentage of nonelderly individuals with health insurance increased to 82% in 2011, but only 58.4% of that demographic had work-based coverage, compared with 58.7% in 2010 and 69.3% in 2000.
About 22.5% of the nonelderly population, or about 59.9 million individuals, had insurance coverage through public programs -- such as Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare, the military's health insurance program -- up from 21.6% in 2010 (Modern Healthcare, 9/27). About 7.1% had coverage in the individual market (CQ HealthBeat, 9/27).
Fronstin wrote that "a rebound in employer-based coverage is unlikely" unless "the economy gains enough strength to have a substantial impact on the labor market" (Modern Healthcare, 9/27).
The analysis also found that in 2011:
- 71.8% of nonelderly individuals in families that were headed by a full-time, full-year worker had employer-based coverage, compared with 34.2% of individuals in families headed by part-time or seasonal workers; and
- 66.9% of whites had employer-sponsored coverage, compared with 46.7% of blacks and 38.8% of Hispanics.
According to CQ HealthBeat
, the report could indicate the structure of the working-age uninsured population that likely will enroll in Medicaid or purchase coverage through the insurance exchanges that will begin operating in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act (CQ HealthBeat