Economic Factors Could Decrease Access To Employer-Sponsored Health Coverage
The percentage of U.S. residents younger than age 65 who had health coverage through their employer remained at 62.2% between 2006 and 2007, but that percentage likely will decline in 2008, according to a Employee Benefit Research Institute report, the Kansas City Star reports. The report states that this year's rise in unemployment rates and food and gasoline prices suggest a future decline in the number of workers who have or are able to afford employer-sponsored health insurance.
According to the report, the percentage of U.S. residents younger than age 65 with employer-based health coverage increased from 1994 to 2000, and then declined to 62.2% in 2006. "The increase came hand-in-hand with a strong economy and low unemployment rates which caused more employers to provide health benefits in order to attract and retain workers, and also may have resulted in more workers being able to afford health insurance," the report said.
However, Paul Fronstin, the author of the report, wrote, "the percentage of workers with coverage either from their own employer or from someone else's employer has been remarkably stable, considering what has happened with the cost of providing health benefits and the fact that fewer small employers offer coverage" (Stafford, Kansas City Star, 9/8).
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