Fewer Americans With Employer-Based Health Insurance

Gallup reports that the percentage of Americans with employer-based health insurance continues to decline. This is likely the result of an increasing number of unemployed and underemployed Americans, but also because there are "fewer employers offering health insurance." When Gallup started tracking Americans' health insurance sources in 2008, nearly 50% of adults 18 and older received health insurance from their employer. This percentage has decreased steadily from 2008 to today, when 44.5% of Americans say they receive employer-based health insurance.These years have also seen an increase in the percentage of uninsured Americans, from 14.6% in 2008 to 17.3% today (though Gallup warns this latter figure may be inflated because in the second half of 2011 surveys were conducted by cell phone, guaranteeing a younger--and more uninsured--respondent population). Gallup has found that 18- to 26- year-olds are less likely to be uninsured than in recent years, perhaps a result of "the provision in the new healthcare law that lets them stay on their parents' health plans until age 26."

But "the other components of the health law that have already been implemented" do not appear to be having the same impact for the larger segment of the population, as "there has been an increase among 25- to- 64-year-olds...without health insurance." These components include "tax credits to help small businesses provide health insurance to their employees and the establishment of a Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan among several others." Although the percentage of Americans with government-based health insurance has declined recently, it has still increased since 2008.

Wal-Mart--which "announced in October that new part-time employees who work less than an average of 24 hours a week would no longer be able to get their health insurance from the company--" may present an example that other companies will follow moving forward. Gallup writes: "If Wal-Mart's decision is a precursor of how employers intend to manage their healthcare costs, the downward trend in employer-based healthcare will likely continue."

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