With Employer Health System Fraying, ACA Is More Important Than Ever

Our friends at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) are out today with an interactive map showing how the 50 states stack up when it comes to employer-sponsored health insurance. With the nation’s employer-based health insurance system fraying rapidly in the past decade, the findings highlight just how important the Affordable Care Act is to many Americans.

The non-elderly population across the country relies on employer-sponsored health insurance (ESI) as their primary form of health coverage. In eleven of the last twelve years, however, ESI coverage has declined. Across the country, on average, ESI coverage for the under-65 population fell 10.8 percentage points from 2000 to 2012. Translated into raw numbers, if the ESI coverage rate had not declined over this period, 29 million more Americans would be covered today by their employers. Twenty-two states experienced losses in excess of 10 percentage points over the period. The largest declines in coverage occurred in Nevada, Michigan, Georgia, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Indiana, each with losses of at least 13 percentage points.

As a result of these losses, the average coverage rate in 2012 was down to 58.4 percent. The map below compares ESI coverage for the entire under-65 population across states in 2011/2012.[1] Massachusetts has the highest rate of ESI coverage at 70.8 percent. It is followed by New Hampshire (70.0 percent), Connecticut (69.7 percent), Minnesota (69.0 percent), North Dakota (67.6 percent), and Maryland (67.3 percent). In contrast, less than half of New Mexico’s non-elderly population has ESI, at 47.2 percent.

See how Pennsylvania compares to other states on EPI’s interactive map (click here if you are having any trouble viewing it):

[1] Because of sample size requirements, I combined two years of data 2011 and 2012.


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