More than 155 million Americans have employer-sponsored health insurance. But shortfalls in that coverage are leaving too many insured people without adequate access to health care, according to a new study.
Study Highlights Coverage Shortfalls
The study, released by Morgan Health and the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, found that, among people covered by employer-sponsored plans:
- 7% missed medical care due to prohibitive costs
- 10% skipped prescriptions because of their out-of-pocket costs
- 12% reported difficulty paying medical bills.
Employer-sponsored plans are the leading source of health insurance for Americans under age 65, with nearly half of Americans enrolled in an employer-sponsored plan.
The challenges of inadequate access tend to be overlooked for people who are insured. But increases in premiums and cost sharing among employer-sponsored insurance are a rising concern, especially given the recent surge in inflation. And they are magnified for low-wage employees.
Racial Disparities Cited
The study also cited racial disparities in health outcomes among people covered by employer-sponsored insurance. It is well documented that minorities, particularly Black and Hispanic Americans, disproportionately experience some serious health conditions.
Foregoing needed medical care and skipping prescriptions are likely to worsen health outcomes. These behaviors also have the potential to exacerbate existing health disparities. More comprehensive and affordable coverage, on the other hand, would enable patients to seek preventive care, receive urgent care and minimize risk factors for disease.
By offering coverage that makes high-quality health care affordable and accessible, employers can promote good health among their workforce. They can also help reduce disparities that have plagued the larger U.S. health care system for far too long.