More Workers Decline Health Coverage
More workers are declining employer-sponsored health benefits largely because they are being required to contribute more toward health insurance premiums, according to a study released Friday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The study used data from the 2003 U.S. census, as well as a federal medical survey. According to the report:
- 82% of California workers accepted their employers' coverage in 2003, compared with 87% in 1998;
- The average premium paid by a California worker increased by 42% during the study period, from $2,316 in 1998 to $3,293 in 2003;
- Health coverage costs increased, but the percentage of the annual premium workers paid in California slightly decreased to about 14% in 2003; and
- About 66% of insured Californians were employed at companies that offered health care benefits.
The foundation also released data from the Urban Institute that found more than half of working adults who do not have health insurance cite the cost of coverage as their reason for being uninsured (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/5).
A California HealthCare Foundation-commissioned analysis of the Massachusetts health insurance mandate shows "it may be difficult -- if not impossible -- for some states to pursue health reform on their own," according to an opinion piece by Karen Davenport and Meredith King of the Center for American Progress. Davenport and King write that lawmakers should use the recently enacted in Massachusetts law "as inspiration for a national search-and-rescue operation for our health care system" and make "affordable health coverage for everyone a national priority" (Davenport/King, Center for American Progress Web site, 5/3).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.