You would think that the roaring economy and tight labor market in the 1990s would have meant a significant increase in the number of people with employer-sponsored health insurance. But you would be wrong, according to a report by the Center for Studying Health System Change.
The Community Tracking Study Household Survey, conducted in 1997, 1999, and 2001, followed 60,000 nonelderly people in working families. In 2001, 77.5 percent of workers had health coverage through their employers — not that much different from the two other years.
"Relying on economic growth alone to reduce the number of uninsured won't work," says Paul Ginsburg, PhD, the center's president. "Short of a major public investment — either through subsidies to purchase private insurance or public coverage expansions — significantly reducing the number of uninsured Americans who are in working families isn't likely."
When change barely registers
Employer-sponsored insurance includes those covered by military plans, such as CHAMPUS. Access rate reflects the share of workers who are offered health coverage. Take-up rate is the subset of those under access rate who accept their employers' offerings.
SOURCE: COMMUNITY TRACKING STUDY HOUSEHOLD SURVEY, CENTER FOR STUDYING HEALTH SYSTEM CHANGE, WASHINGTON, D.C., 2002