Fewer Than 50% of Private-Sector Employees Have Health Coverage, Report Finds
Fewer than one-half of U.S. private-sector workers receive employer-sponsored health insurance, down from about two-thirds ten years ago, according to a report released Wednesday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Boston Globe reports. The study is based on a nationwide survey of employers conducted in March (Blanton, Boston Globe, 9/19). It does not account for employees of government or public educational institutions and does not cover agricultural workers or self-employed people. The study's findings include:
- Forty-five percent of private-sector workers were covered by employer-sponsored health insurance in March, compared to 63% from 1992 to 1993.
- Workers earning less than $15 per hour are about half as likely as those earning more than $15 per hour to be covered by employer-sponsored health plans.
- The average employee contribution to health insurance premiums has risen by about 75% since 1992-1993, with the average employee now paying $228.98 per month for family coverage and $60.24 per month for individual coverage.
- Fifty-six percent of full-time workers have employer-sponsored health benefits, while 9% of part-time workers have such benefits.
- Thirty-two percent of employees have dental coverage (Stafford, Kansas City Star, 9/20). A decade ago, 39% had such coverage (Boston Globe, 9/19).
- Nineteen percent workers have a vision care plan (Kansas City Star, 9/20).
Analysts attribute the decline in employer-sponsored health coverage to rising insurance premiums and the inability of workers and small companies to afford health coverage. In addition, coverage has been affected by a recent decrease in manufacturing jobs, which traditionally have been more likely to include health benefits, and an increase in service jobs, which are less likely to offer health benefits, the Globe reports. "We're really moving from a highly unionized and manufacturing-based economy to a service-based economy and to an economy in which many of the newest jobs created are in small businesses where benefits are least likely to be offered," Diane Rowland, executive director of the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, said. BLS economist Walter Marshall called the coverage drop "dramatic," but he said the data might "overstate the trend" in declining employer-sponsored health benefits partly because of coverage shifts within two-income families, according to the Globe (Boston Globe, 9/19). The report is available online.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.