Reasons to believe employer-based health coverage is here to stay

The Affordable Care Act has not spelled the end of employer-based health insurance--and if current trends continue, that doesn't look likely to change, according to the New York Times.

A report out late last month from the Congressional Budget Office indicates that 57 percent of U.S. residents with health coverage--or 155 million people--will obtain insurance through employer-based plans in 2016. Though the CBO estimates this will fall slightly to 152 million people by 2019, it predicts that number will remain stable through 2026.

A recent analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation also points to the strength of employer-based coverage, finding it has held steady for the last five years after declining since 1999, the Times article adds. Small businesses have been the most likely to drop coverage, as the share of those offering benefits has dropped from 68 percent in 2010 to 56 percent in 3015.

Based on those findings, it's clear that coverage is much more stable than experts had expected in the wake of the ACA, senior KFF executive Larry Levitt tells the Times. And insurers seem to agree as well.

"The employer-based system is alive and well," says Jeff Alter, the chief executive of UnitedHealthcare's commercial insurance business.

One major reason for the continued popularity of employer-based plans is that workers have come to expect health benefits, industry expert Rita Numerof, Ph.D., recently told FierceHealthPayer. In fact, a recent survey found most U.S. workers are happy with their employer-based health plans.

Yet as the Times points out, that could change if the economy takes a downturn or if healthcare costs spike. In those circumstances, companies may be more apt to drop coverage given that even individuals with pre-existing conditions can now obtain coverage on their own.

To learn more:
- read the Times article

Related Articles:
Employer-based health insurance: Should it stay or should it go?
Survey: Most employees happy with health plan, but cost concerns continue
Employer-based coverage growing faster than exchange, Medicaid plans
Survey: ACA had little impact on employer-sponsored plans this year
Medicaid enrollment drives increased ACA costs