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Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Coverage Declines For 11th Year

Fewer Americans are covered by employer-sponsored health insurance (ESI). A new Economic Policy Institute (EPI) report found that 2011 marked 11 years in which a decline was shown in the percentage of those covered by their employers. The report found that 58.3 percent of Americans age 65 and under had health insurance through their workplace.

Because most Americans rely on health insurance offered through their jobs, the fall in coverage is expected during a down economy. However, the drop in ESI started long before the Great Recession. The percentage of people covered through their employers has been sliding steadily since 2000, when nearly 70 percent of Americans under age 65 had employer-sponsored coverage.

The report also found that public health insurance coverage, such as Medicaid, and key components of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act kept many Americans, primarily children and young adults, insured. Public health insurance covered 25 million more people under age 65 in 2011 than it did in 2000. In fact, although children saw larger declines in ESI than adults over the 2000s, they experienced an increase in total coverage rates due to public insurance, as the share of children with public coverage grew 14.6 percentage points from 2000 to 2011.

You’re more likely to have health insurance through your employer if you live in New Hampshire. The Granite State had the highest rate of ESI coverage among the under-65 population, at 72 percent in 2010-11. It was followed by Massachusetts (70.5 percent), Connecticut (69.8 percent), Minnesota (68.7 percent), Utah (68.6 percent) and Maryland (67.4 percent). In contrast, less than half of the non-elderly population in New Mexico (47.6 percent) and Louisiana (49.7 percent) have ESI.

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