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The decline in the number of U.S. employers offering health insurance has led to a rise in the percentage of workers who are uninsured, according to two issue papers by the Menlo Park, Calif.-based Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.
The papers, published by the foundation's Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured and released Thursday, are based on August U.S. Census Bureau data that concluded the percentage of U.S. residents who are uninsured rose from 15.6% in 2001 to 15.9% in 2005. At the same time, the percentage of workers covered by employer-sponsored insurance declined from 81.2% in 2001 to 77.4% in 2005.
Almost half of the decline in employer-sponsored insurance was attributed to loss of employer sponsorship, while a quarter of the decline was blamed on loss of health benefit eligibility and access to coverage as a dependent of another employee. The remaining quarter was due to employees declining benefits that were offered to them, according to the issue papers.
Both papers, "Why Did the Number of Uninsured Continue to Increase in 2005?" and "Changes in Employees' Health Insurance Coverage, 2001-2005" are available online at www.kff.org.