California Among Worst for Rate of Job-Based Health Care Coverage
California ranks 45th among U.S. states for the percentage of residents who receive health insurance coverage through an employer, according to a study by the Economic Policy Institute, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The study used data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The study found that 55.7% of California workers had employer-sponsored health care coverage in 2006, compared with about 63% of workers nationwide.
About 18 million workers in California were covered by an employer in 2005-2006, nearly half a million less than the amount covered in 2000-2001, researchers found.
The five-year decline has primarily affected middle-income workers, according to the study.
Researchers also noted that more than 600,000 fewer children in California were covered by their parents' insurance last year than in 2000.
Employer-sponsored health coverage is eroding nationwide as a result of rising premiums and a decline in workers' bargaining strength, according to the Chronicle.
However, the rate of coverage is especially low in California because of its large population and the large proportion of residents with jobs that typically do not provide health insurance, such as the agriculture, hospitality and service industries (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/2).