5 key facts about employer-sponsored health coverage

  • 59% of Americans under the age 65 – or about 156 million Americans – get their health coverage through employer-sponsored plans.

  • The percentage of employers offering health coverage dropped 8% in the last decade, from 68% in 2001 to 60% in 2011. “Most of this decline occurred by 2005 and was driven primarily by a decline in the number of very small employers with 3 to 9 employees offering health coverage,” according to the Government Accountability Office’s report, “Estimates of the Effects on the Prevalence of Employer-Sponsored Health Coverage”.
  • Between 2001 and 2011, employees’ share of health premium costs grew by 131% while employers’ share increased by 108%.
  • Five major microsimulations studies reviewed by the GAO “predicted little change in employer-sponsored health coverage in the near term” as a result of the Affordable Care Act. The studies’ estimates ranged from a 2.5% decrease to a 2.7% increase of individuals with health care coverage under the health care reform law. “Microsimulation studies that examined the effect of the individual mandate estimated that more people would have employer-sponsored coverage with the mandate in place compared to without,” according to the GAO.
  • Most employer-based surveys reported that employers will drop their employee health coverage by 2% to 20% because of the Affordable Care Act. However, the GAO pointed out that these surveys are not reliable predictive tools because most of them only inquired about the likelihood of dropping coverage and ignored the potential effects of tax incentives for small businesses and tax penalties for large employers to offer employee health coverage.


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