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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

“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.

by Paula Burkes
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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