More on declining employer-based coverage

Harold asked if I had a chart showing erosion of employer-based coverage stratified by age. So I made one using the usual CPS data. I left off the 65+ year olds, as they are covered mostly by Medicare.:

Let’s break this down. The age group that seems to do worst overall is 18-24 year olds. That’s not surprising, as many of them are healthy, are not yet employed, and don’t get coverage. That uptick in 2010, though, is because of the ACA. The provision that lets young adults get on their parents’ plans led to an uptick in the percentage of people in that age group who were insured, even as the recession got worse.

Kids track pretty closely with 25-34 year olds, who hold to the average of all people under the age of 65. Those 35-64 years old do best, although still only about 65% retain employer-based insurance in 2010.

Bottom line? Coverage dropped about 10% in almost every age group in a decade. This bodes poorly for the employer-based market. Since there’s been no uptick in the direct purchase market, this bodes well for private insurance in general. And, in the last few years, with the exception of 18-24 year olds, things have gotten really bad.

Ironically, I think that the ACA will likely shore the private insurance market up a bit come 2014. Many will get Medicaid who didn’t have it before, but with the subsidies, lots of people will be able to get private insurance who didn’t have it before. Some of those will get insurance through their employers, and some of them will get it in the direct market on the exchanges. But the overall private market has been eroding badly. Should opponents of the ACA manage to repeal the law or have it struck down, there doesn’t seem to be anything on the horizon to reverse that trend.


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