Health insurance trends among employers defining themselves across the country

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employer sponsored health insurance trendsThough the overall direction seems to be a decline, this is not so in Massachusetts.

The results of a newly released report on health insurance sponsored by employers from one state to the next, has revealed some interesting trends occurring across the country as well as in some specific states.

The data has indicated a change in direction for much of the country, though not in some states.

The State Health Access Data Assistance Center’s study, which was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, showed that while employer sponsored health insurance (ESI) has been changing direction in many states, this was not the case in Massachusetts. The study compared the data from 1999/2000 with that of 2010/2011.

Over the last decade, there was a drop of more than 10 percent in the health insurance through employers.

Among the non-elderly who are receiving health insurance that is sponsored by their employers, the proportion fell from 69.7 in the starting years of the study to 59.5 in the final years of the study. During this period that there was a 10.2 percent plummet in ESI, there was a 3.1 percent increase in public coverage.

The number of private companies that were offering health insurance also fell. It started at 58.9 percent, but declined to reach 52. 4 percent. At the same time, the percentage of employees who were accepting the coverage offers of their employers (known as the “take up rate”) dropped from 81.8 percent to 76.3 percent.

The majority – though not all – states saw considerable decreases in the employer sponsored coverage and in the number of people covered by those plans ranged from 73.8 percent in New Hampshire (which had the largest proportion of coverage of this nature) to 48 percent in New Mexico (which had the lowest). The percentage of companies offering health insurance declined rapidly throughout the span of the years covered by the study, beginning well before the Affordable Care Act had even been considered.

This study shows that the decline in employer sponsored health insurance is a long term trend and did not begin in 2010, nor did it accelerate at that time. There were only three states – Massachusetts, Alaska, and North Dakota – in which ESI had little or no decrease.

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