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11.5M fewer Americans covered by employer-provided coverage

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For HR managers who have had a front-row seat to some of the more seismic changes in health care benefits in recent years, the latest Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report will sound more than familiar.

Its main findings: the percentage of Americans who receive health insurance through employers has fallen significantly over the last decade — from 69.7 percent nationwide in 2000 to just 59.5 percent in 2011.

Also, in total, 11.5 million fewer Americans receive their health coverage through their job, or a family member’s job, than did at the start of the century. In 2000, approximately 170.5 million Americans were enrolled in a plan through their employer compared with 159 million in 2011.

“Employers continue to shoulder about the same percentage of costs for employees’ health insurance as they did 10 years ago, but everyone’s costs have increased dramatically,” Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said in a statement.

“Higher costs naturally translate into fewer employers offering insurance coverage, and fewer employees accepting it, even when it is offered,” she added.

The report shows:

  • The percentage of private-sector employers offering coverage fell more than 6 percentage points — from 58.9 percent in 2000 to 52.4 percent in 2011. Employee enrollment in their company’s health care plans fell significantly, too. In 2000, 81.8 percent of employees who were offered such coverage enrolled. One decade later, just 76.3 percent did.
  • The average annual premium for employee-only coverage doubled from 2000 to 2011 — increasing from $2,490 to $5,081. Family premiums increased 125 percent, from $6,415 to $14,447 in the same time period.
  • The average share that employees pay for both types of coverage remained relatively constant — increasing from just 17.5 percent for individual coverage in 2000 to 20.8 percent in 2011. Employee contributions for family coverage increased from 23.8 percent in 2000 to 26.6 percent in 2011. The average dollar amount of employee premium contributions, however, jumped from $435 to $1,056 for single coverage, and from $1,526 to $3,842 for family coverage.
  • For young adults ages 19-25, dependent coverage increased by nearly 6 percentage points — from 30.7 percent in 2000 to 36.5 percent in 2011. The researchers attribute this to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provision allowing children under age 26 to remain on their parents’ health insurance policies, which went into effect in 2010.

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