The percentage of Americans under age 65 covered by employer-sponsored health insurance fell for the 11th consecutive year in 2011, according to a new Economic Policy Institute report.
Last year 58.3 percent of the under-65 population had job-based coverage, compared to 58.6 percent in 2010.
States with the highest rate of job-based coverage among those under age 65 were:
- New Hampshire, 72 percent
- Massachusetts, 70.5 percent
- Connecticut, 69.8 percent
- Minnesota, 68.7 percent
- Utah, 68.6 percent
- Maryland, 67.4 percent
Meanwhile, just 47.6 percent of New Mexico residents under age 65 and 49.7 percent of Louisiana's under-65 population, had employer-sponsored health insurance coverage, according to the institute, a non-partisan think tank in Washington, D.C.
The decline in the share of Americans with job-based coverage began long before the Great Recession. In 2000, 69.2 percent of Americans under age 65 had employer-sponsored health insurance.
Public health insurance, such as Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program, prevented millions from being uninsured, the institute said. Such programs covered 25 million more people under age 65 in 2011 than in 2000. Although the share of children covered by job-based health insurance fell over 11 years, the percentage of kids with coverage increased overall because of greater access to public programs.
Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, young adults up to age 26 can stay on their parents' health plans. Although that has helped improve access to coverage for some 19- to 25-year-olds, it hasn't helped uninsured young people whose parents don't have job-based coverage, the institute noted.
"Employer-sponsored health insurance is increasingly failing American families, causing far too many people to fall through the cracks," Elise Gould, the institute's director of health policy research, said in a press statement. "While provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act have helped mitigate the trend and will help more individuals and families in the future, the labor market's insufficient job creation and workers' ever-decreasing bargaining power will likely lead to further losses in employer-sponsored insurance coverage before major relief from health reform materializes."