Trends in employment-based health insurance coverage

October 17, 2014

Employee access to employer-provided health insurance declined from 1991 to 2000, chiefly because of relatively low rates of access among part-time workers. From 2003 to 2012, access declined further and participation dropped substantially, as nonunion, part-time and low-wage workers, as well as people employed at small establishments, had a lower incidence of employer-provided health insurance than other workers.

Percentage of workers with access to employer-provided health insurance, private industry, 1991–2012
Year All workers Part-time workers Full-time workers

1991

77.3 28.8 87.8

1992

76.7 26.8 88.3

1993

76.4 24.4 88.6

1994

74.6 21.1 88.5

1995

72.9 20.0 88.1

1996

71.8 19.9 87.4

1997

71.6 19.5 86.5

1998

71.2 18.8 86.5

1999

71.3 18.6 86.7

2000

71.4 19.3 87.4

2003

71.8 22.7 86.9

2004

70.8 20.6 86.6

2005

71.1 21.6 87.0

2006

71.2 21.8 86.7

2007

71.1 24.1 85.6

2008

71.4 24.4 85.9

2009

71.4 23.8 86.5

2010

71.2 24.3 86.9

2011

69.8 23.4 85.9

2012

70.2 23.7 86.4

Note: Data for 2001 and 2002 are excluded because the sampling methodology for the Employment Cost Index changed in those years.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

From 1991 until 2012, the access rate for all workers declined from 77.3 percent to 70.2 percent. There was little change among full-time workers, whose access rates fell from 87.8 percent to 86.4 percent (although they were higher at some points during the period examined). The drop among part-time workers, however, was much steeper—from 28.8 percent to 23.7 percent.

The trends look somewhat different when the period is divided into two parts. Over the 1991–2000 period, there was a 5.9-percentage-point drop in access, attributable largely to reduced access among part-time workers. During the 2003–2012 period, the decline in access was smaller, with most of it attributable to an increase toward the end of the period in the proportion of people working part time.

These data are from the National Compensation Survey – Benefits program. For more information, see the Monthly Labor Review article, “Trends in employment-based health insurance coverage: evidence from the National Compensation Survey,” by  Keenan Dworak-Fisher, Maury Gittleman, and Tom Moehrle.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Trends in employment-based health insurance coverage on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2014/ted_20141017.htm (visited November 18, 2017).

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