More insured, fewer via private healthcare

Oct. 2, 2012 at 2:00 AM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- Employment-based health coverage is the dominant source of U.S. health insurance, but it has been steadily shrinking since 2000, a non-partisan group says.

Paul Fronstin of the Employee Benefit Research Institute in Washington said the analysis found the percentage of the non-elderly population age 65 and under with health insurance coverage increased to 82 percent in 2011 -- up about one-half a percentage point from 2010 -- notable because increases in health insurance coverage increased only three times since 1994.

However, among the non-elderly population, employment-based coverage is trending down -- 58.4 percent had employment-based benefits in 2011, down from the peak of 69.3 percent in 2000 -- while government coverage trended up -- accounting for 22.5 percent of the non-elderly population, up from the low of 14.1 percent in 1999.

"Enrollment in Medicaid -- the federal-state healthcare program for the poor and the poor in nursing homes -- and the State Children's Health Insurance Program increased to a combined 46.9 million in 2011, covering 17.6 percent of the non-elderly population, significantly above the 10.2 percent level of 1999," Fronstin said in a statement.

Other sources of public health insurance include Medicare, which covers many disabled as well as the elderly age 65 and older, as well as government healthcare for the military and veterans, the report said.

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