Employer Health Insurance Levels Drop to Precipitous, Historic Lows

While the American health insurance system is considered the worst in the Western world, it used to be most people were eligible for some kind of coverage through their workplace, spouse or other circumstances.

Now it seems the most traditional form of coverage- employer health insurance- is dropping sharply and the trend of no-coverage jobs is only expected to increase as health insurance costs skyrocket. A Gallup poll indicates that employer health insurance coverage is becoming far less common than it was in the US in recent years, plummeting to 44.5% of Americans with employer health insurance in the third quarter of 2011.

Per the Gallup poll, a staggering 17.3% of Americans have no health insurance, while 25.1% are covered by a government insurance plan of some description. 11.4% of Americans reported “something else” as their health insurance situation. More than 48% of US citizens had employer health insurance as recently as 2008, while about 15% were uninsured and 23% were covered by the government.

One group of people has benefited from laws enacted to cover a greater swath of Americans at the start of President Obama’s term- the provision expanding coverage for adult children of insured parents up to the age of 26 means that fewer young adults are going without health insurance since the bill was passed. As none of the bill’s other major provisions have taken affect, people over the age of 26 are seeing less benefit so far. Gallup says:

“None of the other components of the health law that have already been implemented—tax credits to help small businesses provide health insurance to their employees and the establishment of a preexisting-condition insurance plan among several others—appear to be affecting coverage for older adults.”

The poll included more than 90,000 Americans in all of the 50 states as well as Washington, DC.