Fewer Americans Get Employer Health Insurance


Amid high unemployment rates and rising health-care costs, a smaller proportion of Americans are getting health insurance from their employers, according to a recent Gallup survey.

The percentage of Americans with health-insurance coverage from their employers has fallen steadily over the past three years to less than 45% in February, down from 50% in January 2008, the survey found.

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Meanwhile, the number of Americans insured through government-backed health coverage, such as Medicare, Medicaid and military benefits, has risen about 3 percentage points to more than one in four adults, according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index released Friday. And the percentage of uninsured people has stayed steady at about 16% over the past two years.

"Government healthcare coverage has increased among all age groups, not just seniors, suggesting that unemployment, rather than aging baby boomers, is contributing more to the uptick in the number of Americans with government health care," Gallup said in a statement. Unemployment has remained above the 9% threshold for most of the past two years.

President Barack Obama last year signed a health-care reform bill designed to reduce the number of uninsured Americans. Most of those policies don't take effect until 2014, however, and many will be determined on a state-by-state basis.