Employer-Sponsored Health Coverage Declines in California
The proportion of workers covered though employer-sponsored health plans has declined by nearly five percentage points in the U.S. and California since 2001, according to a study released on Sunday, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The study, by Ken Jacobs, chair of the Center for Labor Research and Education at the University of California-Berkeley, found that employer-sponsored health care in California decreased by 2.3 percentage points between 2004 and 2005.
In an informal telephone survey conducted by Jacobs, 21 union leaders representing 315,000 California workers said health care will be a central issue in upcoming contract negotiations.
However, many experts say that negotiations between employers and unions will not solve declining rates of employer-sponsored health care and the solution must come from policy makers.
Several counties are considering plans similar to legislation passed in San Francisco that will provide health care access to all uninsured residents through contributions from employers, taxpayers and individual premiums. Meanwhile, several unions are negotiating health plans that include two-tier health benefit systems that have less-generous benefits for new hires (Raine, San Francisco Chronicle, 9/3).
The UC-Berkeley labor center study is available online. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the report.