More employed Americans are uninsured

Oct. 22, 2003 at 8:57 AM
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NEW YORK CITY, Oct. 22 (UPI) -- More and more of Americans who lack health insurance are turning up in unexpected places: factories and offices of major employers.

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that between 1987 and 2001, the percentage of uninsured workers in large companies climbed to 11 percent from 7 percent, according to a new study from the Commonwealth Fund, a private research foundation.

Roughly one of four people without health coverage in the United States, about 10 million, work part time or full time at companies with 500 or more workers, or are the dependents of these workers, the study's researchers say.

Although the percentage of large companies offering benefits has actually increased somewhat recently, many big employers are imposing stricter eligibility criteria and higher premium contributions on low-income workers.

"Large firms really haven't stopped providing health coverage," says Cathy Schoen, vice president for health policy and research at the Commonwealth Fund, "It's that employee-participation rates are going down."

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