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.
“Higher costs naturally translate into fewer employers offering insurance coverage, and fewer employees accepting it, even when it is offered,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The one demographic that saw a rise in employer-sponsored coverage was adults ages 19 to 25. That was attributed to a provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that allows those under 26 to remain on their parents' insurance policy. In Oklahoma, participation inched up to 34.7 percent from 31.5 percent.
Separately, a report released by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans found 69 percent of companies plan to continue sponsoring health benefits when the health care act's exchanges open in January. In 2012, only 46 percent were definite they'd continue to offer coverage.
Analysis wasn't broken down by state; only regions, spokeswoman Stacy Van Alstyne said. The results are based on survey responses submitted by more than 950 employee benefit professionals and practitioners through March 26, she said. Final survey results are scheduled to be released in May.