The number of Missouri workers covered by employer-paid health insurance is shrinking…and coverage of employee family members is declining. A new study describes that problem. The Missouri Foundation for Health says the practice of employers offering health insurance to employees took off after World War Two—and in the 60s and 70s, about 80 percent of employers covered workers.Many also covered family members at no cost to the worker. But as healthcare costs have risen, fewer small employers can afford the coverage. More than half of the families in which both parents work are now getting insurance through one spouse’s employer-provided coverage. That’s costing the bigger employers an estimated 891-million dollars a year—a situation the foundation says cannot continue. MFH Vice President Leslie Reed says small busienss needs to mobilize and press the legislature to give them options. Reed also says larger employers need to support them intheir search for more solutions and otions so the costs of healthcare can be more equitably spread. The foundation says almost 700-thousand Missouri workers are getting insurance coverage from one spouse’s policy. The legislature has discussed allowing smaller employers to form pools to get health insuance–but the idea has lacked the muscle to get passed.
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