Human Resources News & Insights

Workers covered by company health plans hits new low

For the fourth year in a row, the number of Americans getting health insurance from their employer has dropped. It’s now at a record low, and there are four suspected reasons why.

Since 2008, Gallup and Healthways have been teaming up to measure the amount of employees with company-sponsored health insurance.

In 2011 (the most recent data available), a record low 44.6% received employer-sponsored health insurance. That’s down from 45.8% in 2010, 46.8% in 2009 and 49.2% in 2008.

And as one would expect after looking at that data, the amount of Americans without any health coverage at all is increasing — from 14.8% in 2008, to 16.2% in 2009, to 16.4% in 2010 and 17.1% in 2011 (another record).

The four contributing factors to these trends, according to Gallup:

  1. Increased unemployment
  2. Workers can no longer afford the rising out-of-pocket costs of the insurance their employers offer
  3. More employers are no longer offering insurance, and
  4. More full-time employees are being forced into part-time jobs (which usually don’t qualify them for benefits).

Gallup and Healthways also tracked a decrease in employer-sponsored coverage across the three main types of employees — full-time, part-time and self-employed full-time workers:

  • 70.9% of full-time employees had employer-sponsored coverage in 2011 (compared to 73.4% in 2010)
  • 33% of part-time workers had employer-sponsored coverage in 2011 (compared to 34% in 2010), and
  • 27.6% of self-employed workers had employer-sponsored coverage in 2011 (compared to 28.3% in 2010).

Info: The data comes from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey, during which a random sample of 353,492 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, were randomly selected and interviewed via telephone.

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  1. Joanna G. says:

    Coming from insurance industry and working in employee benefits, I can’t help but agree with all the points mentioned. In addition what’s important to point out is how deceiving is the most recent Cigna survey indicating a “drop in health care spending” since more and more employers implemented HDHP, implying that employees are “more responsible.” What an inaccuracy! Employees simply can’t afford higher deductibles, they postpope treatmenst, appointments and med test. We will be looking into more sick individuals with advanced health matters, but hey who cares as long as costs are lower, right? Wrong!

  2. Right now we are prepping for our open enrollment, and there are no good options. I strongly believe that a good medical plan keeps employees healthier, which means that I, as the employer, benefit by having them at work and capable of doing their jobs. But with the way the premiums are increasing, it is almost impossible to offer a plan that is more than just catastrophic coverage and is affordable to the employees. I don’t know where this is going to end, but unless both the employees and the employers get a break, the whole system is headed for collapse.

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