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Employer-Based Health Insurance Falling Out of Favor in U.S., Survey Finds

 

Fewer Americans got their health insurance from an employer in 2011 (44.6%), continuing a decline that Gallup and Healthways have documented since 2008.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index tracked a decline in employer-based insurance regardless of whether people were employed full time by an employer, employed full time for themselves, or working part time.

The percentage of Americans receiving health care insurance through the Employer-based health insurancegovernment -- -- Medicare, Medicaid, or military/veterans' benefits -- was essentially unchanged at 25.2%. The percentage of Americans who report they receive health care coverage through some other means, such as buying their own policy, has also been stable.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index tracks well being in the U.S., U.K., and Germany. Here are a few highlights from the latest survey that we thought would be of interest to benefits administrators and other HR professionals:

  • Most groups saw declines. Employer-based health insurance declined among most demographic groups in 2012. Young adults and Hispanics are less likely than most groups to get their health insurance from an employer.
  • Employer coverage correlated with income. Wealthy Americans are the most likely to say they get their health insurance from an employer, at 70.4%. Low-income Americans are among the least likely to have employer-based health coverage, at 23.7%.
  • Health care costs continue to rise. The average annual premium for employer-sponsored family health insurance coverage increased to $15,073 last year, up 9% from 2010, according to a 2011 Kaiser Family Foundation survey. The survey found workers contributed $4,129 on average to the premium cost and employers $10,944.
  • Unemployment isn’t solely to blame. Yes, many people continue to find themselves unemployed or underemployed, reducing their access to employer-sponsored benefits. However, even many of those who had full-time jobs were unable to buy health insurance at work because their employers no longer offered it or the cost for workers was too high for them to afford.

Clearly, controlling health care costs continues to be a struggle for both employers and workers. As the Supreme Court reviews the constitutionality of the individual mandate provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), employers continue to adjust their employee benefits strategy to meet their workers’ needs while managing costs. For many, voluntary benefits offer a way to close the gap, by giving them a low or no-cost way to offer their employees the chance to purchase life insurance, accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance, long term care insurance, legal insurance, etc., through their workplace.

Winston Benefits is a HR solutions company that helps businesses automate and streamline their employee benefit programs. Custom designed and developed client specific solutions help enrich their total compensation and rewards programs while optimizing processes such as benefit communications, enrollment and administration.

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