EMPLOYER-BASED PLANS: Cover 64% of Americans, Study Says
The percentage of non-elderly Americans with employment-based health insurance reached 64% in 1997, making such plans "the most common source of coverage" for Americans. The finding is from a report by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, which used March 1998 statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau to track health insurance trends. EBRI also found that from 1996 to 1997, the number of uninsured Americans increased from 17.7% to 18.3%. EBRI President and Chief Executive, Dallas Salisbury said, "The good news is that health coverage in the work force continues to grow. The bad news is, despite the growing economy and the lowest unemployment rates in over 25 years, the percentage of non-elderly Americans without any source of health insurance also continues to grow." Salisbury attributed the rise in the uninsured to a decline in Medicaid coverage for working and non-working adults. Salisbury warned, however, that the welcome rise in employment-based health coverage could reverse "if higher health-care cost inflation returns." Another EBRI finding: The number of Americans with employment-based health insurance varies by region, with the east north central area posting a high of 72.5%, while the west south central lagged at 58.1% (Journal of Commerce, 12/10).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.