Fewer than half of private-sector workers now covered by employer-sponsored insurance

Decrease due to availability of ACA plans and not recession, RWJF found

The Affordable Care Act in a post-recession era may be detrimental to employer-sponsored insurance, according to a new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

RWJF analyzed trends during two time periods: 2004-2005 through 2008-2009, which includes the recession, and 2008-2009 through 2012-2013, right after the recession and including the implementation of the ACA.

Prior to the recession, the percentage of employees working for companies that offered insurance increased, but the "take-up," whether the employee actually enrolls, declined. For the time period after the recession, the report found that the percentage of employees working for companies that offered insurance declined. Additionally, for those who were eligible where coverage was offered, fewer decided to enroll.

Looking at the United States as a whole prior to the recession, the report found no significant changes in the percentage of companies offering employer-sponsored insurance. However, there was variation at the state level. For instance, the percentage of employers offering such plans increased 5 percentage points in Arkansas, while Maryland experienced a decrease of 4.9 percentage points.

After the recession, the report found significant declines in employers offering coverage across 34 states and the District of Columbia. Decline stretched from 4 percentage points in Iowa to 10.5 percentage points in New Jersey.

It's important, the study noted, to take the ACA into consideration when determining the long-term trends of employer-sponsored coverage. In 2004-2005, 54.3 percent of workers in the private sector were insured through employer-sponsored plans. In 2012-2013, that percentage dropped to 49.7.

This may be a result of employers moving full-time workers into part-time positions to avoid paying for their coverage, as the ACA requires large employers to insure employees who work 30 or more hours weekly. Other businesses have encouraged employers to seek coverage through the health insurance exchanges, though employers who shift workers to exchanges might not reap the financial rewards they expect, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

For more:
- here's the report (.pdf)

Related Articles:
Public supports GOP effort to raise ACA full-time work week
House passes bill redefining full-time work under employer mandate
GOP plan to chip away at employer mandate could backfire
Survey: Firms shift ACA costs to employees
Employers who shift workers to exchanges might not reap financial rewards