Study: Employer-sponsored coverage dropped 10%

In more evidence that the health insurance industry's landscape is transforming, a new study finds employer-based coverage, once the cornerstone of the market, has "eroded substantially."

Only 60 percent of Americans now receive coverage through their employer, a decrease of 10 percent in the last decade or 12 million fewer people, according to a study released Thursday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Meanwhile, premiums have been increasing with the average family premiums costing more than $14,000 in 2011, a 125 percent surge from the $5,000 average in 2000.

But the study authors cautioned against associating the decline with the reform law, particularly since employer-sponsored healthcare has been declining for 10 years before the law was even proposed. Instead, they said the steady drop in employer coverage is related to the overall decline in total number of jobs available combined with ever-rising premiums, Bloomberg reported.

"This documents that in virtually every state across the country, there has been a steady decline in employers that provide coverage over the past 10 years," Andrew Hyman, director of the RWJF care coverage team, told USA Today. "It would be a real stretch to say this was caused by anticipation of the Affordable Care Act."

The report also found rates vary widely among states, with Michigan, Indiana and South Carolina seeing the largest declines in employer-sponsored insurance, at about 15 percentage points each. Alaska, Massachusetts and North Dakota were the only states that held their rates stable in the last 10 years, while no states saw an increase in employer coverage, according to the report.

To learn more:
- here's the study
- read the USA Today article
- see the Bloomberg article

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