Employer-provided health insurance on the decline, report shows
Fewer Americans have full-time, permanent jobs that offer employer-provided health insurance, a report from The Iowa Policy Project finds, largely due to a changing labor market.
The report from the nonpartisan, nonprofit group found a shift from manufacturing to service jobs and from long-term to short-term employment has left fewer Americans uninsured, and the recession has intensified those trends.
“Employer-provided health insurance has become more rare and more expensive, leaving the economically weakest workers to fend for themselves,” said Noga O’Connor, an IPP research associate and co-author of the report.
The IPP estimated 40 percent of the labor force is now “non-standard,” meaning part-time, temporary, on-call and contract workers. Those workers are less likely to have health insurance, the report found.
Another 2009 report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found the number of involuntary part-time workers rose from 4.2 million in 2005 to 9.3 million in 2009.
“This has serious implications for policy makers as they consider implementation or changes in the health reform law,” O’Connor said.
The report also found a relationship between the race, age and income of workers, and whether they are “non-standard” workers or have insurance.
“Older, better-educated and better-earning individuals are significantly more likely to be insured and to be standard workers,” the report reads. “We also found a significant race effect — when comparing Black, Hispanic and White workers, Hispanic workers are significantly less likely to be insured and to be standard workers.”
The report also found health insurance is related to job turnover. Workers without coverage are about twice as likely to change their job, and more than seven times as likely to lose their job.
Andrew Cannon of the IPP said the report shows the rapid increase in health costs is only one reason for the steady erosion of employer-sponsored insurance.
“A big reason also is simply that movement of people into jobs that are not likely to offer insurance,” Cannon said.
The report was funded by the U.S. Department of Labor.