Fewer get insurance through employer in Wisconsin

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Associated Press
April 11, 2013

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — About 400,000 fewer Wisconsin residents obtained health insurance through an employer than a decade ago, according to a report released Thursday.

The drop comes as fewer employers offer coverage and fewer workers opt to accept it, according to a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Thursday that the percentage of the state’s population under 65 with health benefits fell to an average of about 69 percent for 2010 and 2011 compared with an average of 79 percent for 1999 and 2000.

The national average was 59.5 percent, down from about 70 percent in 1999 and 2000.
The report said about 3.3 million employees and their family members in Wisconsin got health insurance through work in 2011, compared with 3.7 million in 2000.

The sharpest decline was in employers with fewer than 50 employees.

Wisconsin saw the largest drop in the country over the past decade in the percentage of employees in small businesses who are offered health benefits, according to the report.

In 1999 and 2000, an average of about 72 percent of the workers at small employers were offered health insurance. By 2010 and 2011, the percentage had fallen to an average of about 51 percent.

The report is based on two government surveys by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The estimates are for two-year averages because of the small sample size in some states.

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