Fewer Employees Have Health Insurance

Stethoscope on Money

In 2008, Gallup and Healthways began tracking the number of employees which are covered under employer sponsored health insurance policies. Since these organizations started tracking this data, the trend that has formed paints an abysmal picture. At the present time, fewer than half of all employees are covered by an employer health insurance plan. Such trends also indicate that the employer based health insurance coverage model is facing significant headwinds and is in the beginning stages of extinction.

Currently, 44.5% of employees have the financial protection of an employer sponsored health insurance policy. Since 2008, the rate of coverage has dropped by 5.3%. As one would suspect, this rapid reduction in employer sponsored health insurance coverage has been attributed to the poor economy. Many employers have shifted large premium increases onto employees, reduced coverage options and have discontinued offering health insurance altogether.

As is indicated by the polling, the United States of America is coping with a rapidly changing health care industry that is leaving many people uninsured. For decades, individuals and families have relied on the employer based health insurance model for coverage. Unfortunately, this pathway to health insurance coverage is quickly falling apart as many businesses struggle to keep their doors open while also coping with insurance premium increases which are nearly three times the rate of inflation.

What these health insurance trends tell us should be no surprise. Each year, millions of Americans join the ranks of the uninsured. The impact this has on our health care industry is profound. While the uninsured seek emergency care, with no financial protection, these debts typically get written down or off through negotiations and bankruptcy. Health care providers recover these losses by charging more for services, which also drives health insurance premiums higher for those with coverage. Such trends are the reason why health insurance premiums continue to increase at triple the rate of inflation and are driving more employers to drop employee health insurance coverage completely.

To address the crisis in health care, an aggressive approach to covering the uninsured must be undertaken. Doing so would stabilize the fees health care providers receive from providing services and place far less of a burden on those that presently have health insurance. However, nothing is being spoken of in Washington D.C. to accomplish this. The number of uninsured individuals is expected to climb until the Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act law is fully phased in.

Reference: Employer-Based Health Insurance Continues to Trend Down