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Fewer Wisconsin employers offering employee health insurance coverage

Could employer sponsored health insurance be a thing of the past? The numbers keep reducing.
Could employer sponsored health insurance be a thing of the past? The numbers keep reducing.
Jennifer Long

It can be blamed on the lagging economy, the reform movement, rising and excessive costs, or a high risk and unhealthy workforce, however there is no denying the fact that fewer Wisconsin based employers are sponsoring employee health insurance. It is also a fact that many working adults are finding it difficult to cope with the issue of acquiring affordable health coverage on their own.

With the lagging economy surrounding the latest recession, thousands of employees became unemployed during massive layoffs and company downsizing. In the aftermath as new employment is accepted, it is health insurance that has taken a back seat to merely securing an income. As hundreds of companies struggle to keep their doors open for business, it is found that many cannot afford the expense of maintaining and offering health insurance benefits to their workforce.

The health insurance reform encouraged by the Obama administration has placed an additional burden on working families. As family units continue to struggle to put food on the table and pay housing and utility costs, many are finding it difficult to pay for additional health insurance for those whose employers have opted out of its offering. In fact, some are stunned to realize the premium costs once an employer is no longer contributing a share of the premiums. With the job losses, losses of unemployment benefits, and the slow recession turn-around, the mandate from the reform act that states everyone must purchase health insurance or face fines has those who can least afford the benefits nervous.

This does not take into account the thousands who are already under a doctor’s care for a prior health issue or concern. Pre-existing conditions may cause already escalated premiums to rise further than originally quoted. For health insurance that may have prescription drug coverage included, these premiums may yet become even higher. Wisconsinites that have pre-existing conditions that do not qualify for state aid may be having a more difficult time finding affordable coverage.

Typically, the issues regarding the reduction of employees covered by employer-sponsored health insurance only touch on the fact that, since the loss of jobs across the state and country during the recession, there are fewer employees than before left to accept the coverage. It is possible that with the post-recession improvement of the economy, the addition of new jobs offering health coverage and hiring of employees may offset the statistics. Until then, it is probable that the numbers of uninsured and underinsured individuals and families will continue to negatively skew.

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