Studies Find Drop in Employee Health Insurance in California
New research to be released on Wednesday underscores the challenges that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) and state lawmakers are facing as they seek to rework California's health care system, the Los Angeles Times reports.
UCLA's Center for Health Policy Research is set to release a study indicating a drop in employer-sponsored coverage in California, while research from the San Diego-based Center on Policy Initiatives puts the number of workers in California not receiving coverage through their jobs at more than eight million.
Further details are provided below.
The percentage of Californians with employer-sponsored health care coverage declined from 2001 to 2005, according to a study to be released Wednesday by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
The study found that:
- The rate of employer-based coverage dropped from 56.4% in 2001 to 54.3% in 2005;
- 80% of workers without such coverage either worked for employers that did not offer it or were ineligible to receive the benefit; and
- 20% of workers turned down coverage, with most of them citing high costs.
The report also found a 66% increase in premiums for family coverage through employer-sponsored plans from 2001 to 2005.
Although fewer state residents receive employer-based coverage, the authors found that the proportion of uninsured Californians declined from 21.9% in 2001 to 20% in 2005.
The study attributes the decline to enrollment increases in Medi-Cal, Healthy Families and county-based programs. About one in three California children are insured through these government programs, according to the Times.
The report also found that:
- 63% of uninsured Californians were U.S. citizens;
- 15% were noncitizens with green cards; and
- 22% were undocumented immigrants (Engel, Los Angeles Times, 7/11).
About 8.7 million of California's 17.3 million working adults do not have employer-sponsored health care coverage, and 2.9 million of those do not have any insurance, according to a report to be released Wednesday by the Center on Policy Initiatives.
In addition, the study found that people working in higher-wage industries are more likely to have employer-based health insurance coverage than workers in lower-wage fields (Darcé, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/11).
For example, 73.7% of public administration employees -- including federal and state workers -- are covered by employer-sponsored plans, compared with about 20% of hotel and food workers who have job-based coverage (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 7/11).
The authors of the study said the results demonstrate that more lower-wage workers seek coverage through a dependent or the government, or do not obtain coverage.
The study concluded, "State legislation seeking to bring health coverage to more of the uninsured must require an equitable contribution from employers."
The authors, however, did not endorse a specific health care reform proposal (San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/11).