What percent of Americans have health coverage from their employer?

by Robert Nagle on 4/21/2010

in Social Sciences

Here are some statistics which I found in an October 2009 report from the Economic Policy Institute (available only in PDF).  A cautionary note: a lot of the percentages depend on knowing exactly what category is being spoken abo0ut. All of the statistics are about working-age Americans under 65 unless otherwise specified.

In 2008, 62% of Americans (working & not working)  had health insurance with employer-sponsored insurance (ESI).  The percent decreased from 2000 where it was 68%.

But in 2008,  70% of all employed   Americans  between 18-64  had ESI.

Source of insurance coverage for people under 65 in 2008 :

  • employer insurance 62%
  • individually-purchased insurance 6.5%
  • public insurance   20%
  • No insurance  17%

In Texas, working-age Texans with ESI was 59% in 2000 and 52% in 2008

In 2008, 74% of full time workers had ESI; 51% of part-time workers do.

Characteristics of uninsured workers in 2008 by income:

  • 39% were in the bottom 20% of income
  • 27% were in 20-40% range of income
  • 16% were in the 40-60% range of income
  • 9.5 were in 60-80% range of income
  • 7.4% were in  the top 20% range of income

In 2008, out of the uninsured, 75% are working full time; 25% are part-timers or unemployed.

In 2008, 55% of full time workers with only a high school education had ESI (a drop of 10% since 2000)
In 2008, 79% of full timers with college degrees had ESI (a drop of 3% since 2000)

Economic Policy Institute summarizes:

One of the clearest indicators of the deepening recession is the unemployment rate. In 2007, the most recent peak year, the unemployment rate was 4.6%. Average unemployment rose modestly to 5.8% in 2008. The unemployment rate this year is expected to average 9.3% and reach 10.2% in 2010 (CBO 2009). This dramatic increase in unemployment over this recession is one of the worst on record (Shierholz 2009).

While employer-sponsored health insurance remains the predominant form of health coverage for the under-65 population, when people lose their jobs, they often lose access to their health insurance. Therefore, the modest declines in ESI from 2007 to 2008 are likely to be exacerbated in the future by the sharp rise in unemployment from 2008 to 2009 and 2010. Research has shown that a 1.0 percentage-point increase in the unemployment rate is associated with a 0.9 to 1.0 percentage-point decline in the share of the under-65 population with ESI (Holahan and Garrett 2009; Cawley and Simon 2003).

The under-65 rate of employment-based coverage was 61.9% in 2008, down 1.0 percentage points from 2007. It can be expected that the ESI coverage will drop another 3.2 to 3.5 percentage points in 2009 and nearly another point in 2010. These projections suggest that by 2010, another 10 million fewer people under 65 will have their employer-sponsored health insurance.

While not one-for-one, a drop in ESI coverage is strongly associated with a rise in the number of uninsured Americans, only lessened by increases in public coverage (particularly among children). Using an association found between unemployment and the uninsured detailed in Gruber and Levitt (2002), it is predicted that the current number of nonelderly uninsured will be at least 50 million by years end and may rise another million in 2010.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: