Fewer Californians get health insurance at work as premiums rise

A new report shows a steady erosion of employer-based health insurance in California and nationwide from 2000 to 2011.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

A new report shows that 53% of Californians get their health insurance through work, down from 62% in 2000.

About 17.6 million state residents received employer health benefits in 2011, nearly 1.3 million fewer than a decade earlier.

The report issued Thursday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation also shows that the premiums for family coverage through work shot up 146% over the same period to $14,828 annually in California.


“Higher costs naturally translate into fewer employers offering insurance coverage, and fewer employees accepting it, even when it is offered,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, the foundation’s president.

The number of private-sector companies in California offering health benefits also fell over the last decade, to 52% in 2011 from 57% in 2000.

Overall, researchers found that 47 states and the District of Columbia saw a significant decline in residents with employer-sponsored insurance since 2000.

The states that saw the largest percentage-point drops in employer health benefits were Michigan, South Carolina and Indiana.

In January, under the federal healthcare law, people will have new options for insurance coverage. There will be federal premium subsidies for some consumers buying private coverage and in some states an expansion of Medicaid, the joint state-federal program for the poor.



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