A new study from the Gallup Organization, a research and performance-management consulting firm that monitors public opinion, shows that employer-sponsored health insurance is on the decline. Gallup, well known for its studies and polls concerning the insurance industry and federal government, says that the number of people receiving health insurance from their jobs has fallen nearly 2% from the level it was at a year before. The study suggests that the decrease may be due to high levels of unemployment and new insurance regulations that make it more costly for businesses to continue offering health care benefits.
According to Gallup, 17% of the U.S. population does not have any kind of health insurance – the highest rate the nation has ever seen in this regard. While a sickly economy is certainly a contributing factor, Gallup suggests that the insurance industry may also be playing a role. Insurers have been raising the rates on health coverage for some time now in an attempt to offset the rising cost of medical care. Though insurers are loathe to lose customers, higher prices are succeeding in driving away consumers that have had troubling weathering the economic recession of 2008.
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New regulations coming from the federal Affordable Care Act may also be playing a role, as insurers have had to make major changes to the way they offer group coverage. For employers, this usually translates into spending more money, which is difficult to manage in today’s economic climate.