Health Insurance Coverage for Employees Falls to New Low
The number of American employees receiving health insurance benefits from their employer has dropped for the fourth consecutive year 2011, reveals the 2012 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Survey. The survey showed that only 44.6 percent of workers received employer-sponsored health insurance plans, a number that has trended downward since 2008 where 49.2 percent of employees participated in such plans. As the number of employees with health coverage falls, so too does the amount of uninsured American’s increase which attained a record high in 2011 at 17.1 percent.
The four primary contributing factors to the falloff in health coverage participation are suspected to be the high unemployment rate, the fact that workers are unable to afford the increasing out-of-pocket expenses required in employer-sponsored plans, the decreasing number of employers offering health insurance, and reduced hours forcing full-time employees into part-time job status, typically disqualifying them from receiving benefits.
Other trend observed in the survey was the decrease in employer-sponsored coverage across the three main employment types: full-time, part-time, and self-employed. About 71 percent of full-time employees were covered by health insurance plans sponsored by their employers in 2011 compared to over 73 percent in 2010. Just one-third of part-time workers had such coverage during 2011, falling from 34 percent in 2010. Finally, less than 28 percent of self-employed individuals had employer-sponsored coverage in 2011, down from over 28 percent in 2010.