Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Increased Slightly In 2012

In 2012, the share of non-elderly Americans with employer-sponsored health insurance did not decline for the first time in 12 years, according to a recent report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). The report, Public Insurance Is Increasingly Crucial to American Families Even as Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Coverage Ends Its Steady Decline, found that after falling every year since 2000, for a total decline of 10.9 percentage points to 2011, employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) coverage was essentially flat between 2011 and 2012, increasing slightly to 58.4 percent. However, in 2012, 13.7 million fewer non-elderly Americans had ESI than in 2000.

The report noted that the decline in ESI coverage has been accompanied by an increase in the number of Americans without health insurance of any kind, ESI or otherwise. The number of uninsured non-elderly Americans was 47.3 million in 2012—11.1 million higher than in 2000. The share of non-elderly Americans without insurance increased from 14.7 percent in 2000 to 17.7 percent in 2012. Increasing public insurance coverage, particularly among children, is the only reason the uninsured rate did not rise one-for-one with losses in ESI, the EPI found.

The report found the following:

• As many as 29 million more people under age 65 would have had ESI in 2012 if the ESI coverage rate had remained at its 2000 level. Both genders and people of all ages, races, and education levels suffered declines in employer-based coverage since 2000.

• Workers age 18 to 64 lost job-based coverage between 2011 and 2012, and their ESI coverage declined 3.9 percentage points from 2007 to 2012. On-the-job coverage for workers who worked at least 20 hours per week for at least half the year continued its downward trend, from 55.4 percent in 2007 to 51.6 percent in 2012. In addition, workers in small firms are far less likely to have ESI coverage than those in large firms.

• ESI for children rose 0.7 percentage points between 2011 and 2012, but fell a total of 11.3 percentage points between 2000 and 2012, and the gap in ESI coverage among high- and low-income children widened substantially over this period.

• Workers age 18 to 64 were nearly 30 percent more likely to be uninsured in 2012 than in 2000. Uninsured workers are disproportionately young, Hispanic, less educated, and have lower incomes. The gap between coverage of full-time and part-time workers grew substantially.

• Public health insurance is responsible for keeping millions from becoming uninsured, as job-based coverage sharply declined between 2000 and 2012. Public insurance covered 25.3 million more people under age 65 in 2012 than in 2000.

• Critical provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act have helped offset recent declines in ESI coverage by insuring young adults through their parents’ health insurance policies.

For more information, visit http://www.epi.org/publication/employer-sponsored-health-insurance-is-still-failing-american-families/.

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