Fewer employers offer health insurance coverage

Filed under: Health Care |

Employer-based health insurance coverage has declined for the sixth year in a row.
The Economic Policy Institute reports that about 59 percent of Americans were covered by employer-based insurance last year, nearly 2.3 million fewer than during 2000.
The percentage of children covered by employer-based insurance also was 59 percent, but 2.4 million fewer children were covered during 2006 than during 2000, and public health insurance programs no longer offset these losses.
“Because of these large declines in employer-provided health insurance, workers and their families have been falling into the ranks of the uninsured at alarming rates,” said Elis Gould, author of the study, which was published earlier this month. “There were almost 5 million more workers in 2006 than in 2000. Even the most highly educated and highest wage workers had lower rates of insurance coverage in 2006 than in 2000.”
The number of uninsured Americans rose by nearly 8.6 million, from 38.4 million during 2000 to 47 million during 2006. This increase was primarily because of the decline in employer-provided health coverage for workers and their families.
Gould said that as more children become eligible for Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, funding levels have not kept pace.
In Colorado, the decline is more than 5 percentage points.
During 2000, about 60.5 percent of workers had employer-based coverage. That dropped to 55 percent during 2006, according to the survey.
Other facts from the study:

  • Nearly 3.9 million fewer Americans under 65 had employer-provided coverage during 2006 than during 2000.
  • The downward trend in the rate of employer-provided health insurance continued for the sixth year in a row, falling from 68.3 percent to 62.9 percent.
  • Individuals among the bottom 20 percent of household income were the least likely to have employer coverage; 21.9 percent of the bottom income quintile were covered compared to 86.2 percent for people in the highest income quintile.
  • Jobholders experienced a significant decline in health insurance coverage from 2000 to 2006. During 2000, 74.8 percent of workers had employer-provided coverage, whereas 70.8 percent of workers had coverage during 2006.
  • No category of workers was insulated from loss of coverage. Even full-time workers, workers with a college degree and workers in the highest wage quintile experienced declines in coverage between 2000 and 2006.
  • Children experienced declines in employer-provided health insurance coverage during each of the last six years. During 2000, 65.9 percent of children had employer-provided coverage, whereas during 2006 only 59.7 percent did, a loss of more than 6 percentage points. Public health insurance is no longer offsetting these losses: for the second year in a row, the rate of uninsured children has increased.

New director at Memorial Hospital for Children

Dr. John H. Fugate has been selected as the medical director of quality performance at Memorial Hospital for Children.
Before coming to Memorial, Fugate served as chief of critical care at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. During his 25-year career, Fugate helped introduce rapid response teams and safety improvement criteria.
Fugate, who helped write a textbook about pediatric intensive care, also is a proponent of family-centered care.
His postdoctoral training includes being chief resident of pediatrics at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, along with a clinical fellowship in pediatric intensive care at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Memorial Hospital for Children starts operations in its new location in the East Tower expansion at Memorial Hospital Central today. The 100-plus bed hospital-within-a- hospital is part of Memorial’s 300,000-square-foot expansion project at 1400 E. Boulder St.
Amy Gillentine covers health care for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.