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PA Residents Losing Employer Coverage at Rate Second Only to CA
Date:10/31/2007

HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nearly half a million fewer Pennsylvanians are receiving health insurance through their employer than were getting it just five years ago, according to a report released jointly today by the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, DC, and the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center in Harrisburg.

That decrease was the largest of any state in the country, except California.

Almost 200,000 of those newly non-covered residents were children, the report found.

The study, The Erosion of Employment-Based Health Insurance: More Working Families Left Uninsured, found that although employment-based coverage is still the most prevalent form of health insurance in the nation, the rate of such coverage has fallen every year since 2000. Some 3.1 million fewer Americans -- including 491,392 Pennsylvanians -- had employment-based coverage in 2006 than in 2001.

"Despite an upturn in the overall economy, the loss of health insurance coverage through employers has continued," said Sharon Ward, Director of the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center (PBPC), a non-partisan policy research project that analyzes state tax and budget matters. "Health insurance, which for a long time came as a basic benefit to a decent, middle-class job, is disappearing for many Pennsylvanians."

Ward attributed the decline in coverage to the continued loss of manufacturing jobs in the Commonwealth and to the rising cost of health insurance, especially for small businesses. Between 2000 and 2006, she said, insurance premiums increased by 76 percent.

The report by EPI, a non-partisan economic think tank that works to broaden public debate on the national economy, noted that the decline in employer coverage in the past five years has been pervasive and felt throughout the country. Thirty-eight states experienced significant losses in employment-based coverage for people under 65 years old, and four states-Utah, South Ca
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SOURCE Keystone Research Center
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