Health Coverage Declining in United States
At a time when the citizens of every other developed country are enjoying universal health care, the United States is sliding backwards. According to recent data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) , the proportion of employees covered by employer-sponsored medical care plans has fallen gradually over the last decade. In March 2003, 45 percent of employees had health care coverage from employers, down from 63 percent in 1993.
In the New England States, 43 per cent of workers had some medical coverage. 31 per cent had dental care coverage and 14 per cent had coverage for vision service.
The decline in employer-funded coverage combines with the shrinking coverage in Medicaid and other programs funded by state budgets to create a health-care disaster for many people.
The BLS study showed that benefits were more commonly offered to workers in goods-producing than to those in service-providing industries. This is significant because the economy in the United States is becoming increasingly service-oriented.
Employers are now requiring employees to contribute more to keep the coverage they have. Employees used to contribute about 15 percent of the cost of health care. Now, the contribution has risen to 25 percent to 35 percent. And health-care consultants forecast it will grow to 50 percent at some companies. Since 1993, the average monthly contribution required of employees has risen about 75 percent for both family and single coverage. Premiums now average $228.98 per month for family coverage. For single coverage, employee contributions average $60.24 per month.
Workers belonging to unions are more likely to have coverage: 72 per cent of union workers have medical coverage compared to only 15 per cent of non-union workers.
– John Andrews, MCHC
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