Rising premiums spark decline in employer-sponsored health plans in Oklahoma, survey shows

Since 2000, 4.8 percent fewer Oklahomans are covered by employer-sponsored health insurance, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation finds. The Sooner state has the biggest increase nationwide in the employee-contributed percentage toward single coverage: 22 percent, up from 14.8.
by Paula Burkes Modified: April 11, 2013 at 9:11 pm •  Published: April 12, 2013

Skyrocketing health insurance premiums have sparked a 10-year decline in employer-sponsored health insurance nationwide, including Oklahoma, an analysis published Wednesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shows.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma workers experienced the biggest increase in the share of single-coverage premiums they contribute as the average grew from 14.8 percent to 22 percent from 2000 to 2011, the study shows.

The 2011 data indicate 57.4 percent of Oklahomans, or 1.83 million, have employer-sponsored insurance, down from 62.2 percent in 2000. In the state, 32.3 percent of smaller firms offer insurance, down from 37.4 percent, while 94.3 percent of firms that employ 50 or more offer plans, down from 96.6 percent.

Researchers found Michigan experienced the deepest drop in employer-sponsored coverage in the period: 5.2 percentage points. North Dakota's slipped less than 1 point.

In 2011, single-coverage premiums on average cost Oklahoma workers $1,039 annually, compared with $1,056 nationwide. Total costs, including employer contributions, more than doubled over the research period to a national average of $5,081 from $2,490.

Family premiums nationwide rose 125 percent, from $6,415 to $14,447. In Oklahoma, the employee share of family coverage rose from $1,689 to $4,081.

by Paula Burkes
Reporter
A 1981 journalism graduate of Oklahoma State University, Paula Burkes has more than 30 years experience writing and editing award-winning material for newspapers and healthcare, educational and telecommunications institutions in Tulsa, Oklahoma...
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