The Fraying Link Between Work and Health Insurance: Trends in Employer-Sponsored Insurance for Employees, 2000-2007
This analysis shows that employer-sponsored coverage began declining after 2000 due to an economic downturn that saw rising unemployment, declining family incomes and more workers moving into temporary work, part-time work and other employment arrangements where health benefits were not provided. Employer-sponsored coverage continued to decline after 2003 despite improvements in the economy and slower growth in health care costs. The decline in coverage was due both to falloffs in the share of employees with access to employer insurance and decreasing take-up rates among workers. As a result, the uninsured rate for employees increased, and it also went up for low-income children with access to employer-coverage. Employer coverage is likely to continue to decline as increasing premiums and the souring economy will likely lead more employers to drop coverage. And employees will probably face greater challenges to taking up coverage as they face increasing contribution amounts and growing strains on family budgets. In the absence of other affordable health coverage options, these trends can be expected to result in further growth in the number of uninsured employees.