Participation in Employer-Sponsored Health Plans Decreased in Recent Years, Survey Finds
More workers in recent years have decided not to participate in employer-sponsored health plans because of cost concerns as premiums and copayments increase, according to a recent survey conducted by the Urban Institute, the Boston Globe reports. The survey found that in 2002, 88% of workers and their dependents eligible for employer-sponsored health plans participated in such plans, compared with 90% in 1999. In addition, the survey found that 83% of children eligible for employer-sponsored health plans participated in such plans in 2002, compared with 86.5% in 1999. The survey also found that 66.8% of low-income workers -- individuals with annual incomes of less than $17,720 and families of four with annual household incomes of less than $36,200 -- who were eligible for employer-sponsored health plans participated in them, compared with 72.6% in 1999. Study co-author Linda Blumberg, a senior research associate at the Urban Institute, said, "We haven't gotten to the point where we're seeing a mass exodus" from employer-sponsored health plans, although "it's a signal of the difficulty that people are having, and they're avoiding coverage." According to Rand Wilson, from the worker rights group Jobs with Justice, "The system of getting your health insurance benefits through your job is broken" (Blanton, Boston Globe, 7/6).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.