EBRI: Recession Caused Record Drop in Workers With Employment-Based Health Coverage

In yet another measure of damage from the recent economic recession, new data from EBRI show that 2009 marked both the sharpest one-year decline in employment-based health coverage for working-age Americans, and also the first time in recent history that less than 60 percent of individuals under age 65 had health benefits through their job.

The April 2011 EBRI Issue Brief  finds that the percentage of workers who received employment-based health benefits through their jobs decreased from 53.2 percent in 2008 to 52 percent in 2009, a 2.4 percent decline. The data also show that during the recession the percentage of workers with coverage as a dependent fell from 17 percent in 2008 to 16.3 percent in 2009, a 4.5 percent drop.

Paul Fronstin, director of EBRI’s Health Research and Education Program and author of the report, notes that unemployment and health coverage are strongly related: When the employment rate falls, health coverage also falls as jobs—and the health benefits that come with them—are lost. The study found the decline in coverage corresponded with the rising unemployment rate during the recession, from an average of 5.8 percent in 2008 to 9.3 percent in 2009, and a high of 10.1 percent during 2009.

The press release is here.

The full report is online here.

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