Enrollment in employer-sponsored health plans fell in 2010 and seems to be falling again this year.

Paul Fronstin of the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), Washington, issues that warning in an analysis of 2010 federal census health coverage data released earlier this year.

The percentage of nonelderly U.S. residents with private individual coverage has stayed about the same, but the percentage with private group coverage fell to 58.7%, from 69.3% in 2000, Fronstin says.

The unemployment rates has been over 9% since the beginning of the year, and the weak job market seems likely to lead to continued erosion in employment-based health benefits, Fronstin says.

“Fewer working individuals translates into fewer individuals with access to health benefits in the work place,” Fronstin says.

- Allison Bell

Other EBRI coverage from National Underwriter Life & Health: