Employer Health Coverage Declines

June 20, 2011

gallup-health-insurance-june-20111.JPGForty-five percent of American adults reported getting their health insurance from an employer in January through May 2011, down slightly from 45.8% in 2010, according to Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index data. More significantly, the percentage of US adults with employer-based health insurance has declined close to 9% from 49.2% in 2008.

1 in 6 Uninsured

The percentage of uninsured Americans , which initially increased 9% from 14.8% in 2008 to 16.2% in 2009, continues to creep up and is at 16.6% in 2011.The 25.3% of adults who so far in 2011 say they have government health insurance such as Medicare, Medicaid, or military/veterans’ benefits is unchanged from 2010, although still higher than in 2009 (24.6%) and 2008 (23.4%).

Low-income, Blacks among Most Likely to Report Decline in Employer-Based Health Coverage

gallup-employee-health-coverage-june-2011.JPGWell-Being Index data shows employer-based health insurance is down across all major demographic groups in 2011 compared with 2008. However, it has decreased the most among adults earning less than $36,000 a year (16%) blacks (15%), Americans who are not college educated (13%), Hispanics (13%) those aged 27 to 35 (11%), Southerners (10%), and those with an annual income between $36,000 and $89,999 (9%).

Other groups also showed above-average three-year declines in employer-based health insurance, including men (8%) and those between the ages of 36 and 44 (7%).

Federal Law, Unemployment Affect Health Coverage

Gallup analysis indicates there are two major forces that are affecting where Americans get their health coverage: One is President Barack Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the other is high unemployment and underemployment. As only certain parts of the new healthcare law have been implemented, the latter issue appears to be the more influential one at this time, with steady declines since 2008 in the percentage of Americans who get their health insurance from an employer.

Health Costs Key to Retirement Decisions

Seventy-two percent of non-retired US investors say the cost of healthcare is a major determinant of when they retire, according to the May 2011 Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index poll. These Americans rank healthcare above the five other factors tested in the survey.

About the Data: Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey Jan. 2-May 31, 2011, with a random sample of 147,291 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, selected using random-digit-dial sampling.

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