Employer health insurance costs rising; coverage declining in state
Health insurance is one of the best perks of any job. Most employersponsored health insurance (ESI) covers preexisting conditions and employees pay a small percentage of the cost of coverage (on average, about 20 percent for single coverage and 27 percent for family coverage).
But in Minnesota and nationwide, fewer people are getting the benefits of ESI, according to a report from the U’s State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC), directed by Lynn Blewett, professor in the Division of Health Policy and Management.
The study, sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, shows ESI coverage declining, enrollment in public health insurance rising, and insurance premiums increasing in Minnesota and across the country over a 10-year time period (1999-2009). Key findings include the following:
ESI covered 81 percent of the non-elderly in Minnesota in 1999/2000. Ten years later, it covered only 71 percent. The loss of ESI hit poor Minnesotans the hardest: Coverage among non-elderly with incomes below about $44,000 for a family of four decreased from 44 percent to 34 percent. The decline in ESI was partially offset by an increase in public insurance coverage (from 8 percent to 15 percent), but the rate of uninsurance also increased (from 7 percent to 9 percent) in Minnesota. Nationwide, insurance costs rose during that decade for employers and employees. In 2008/2009, the average annual premium for ESI coverage was $4,528 for private-sector workers with single coverage—an increase of 82 percent above 1999/2000 premiums. For family coverage, premiums increased 75 percent over the same time, for a national average annual cost of $11,208 in 2008/2009.