Although most Americans still receive health insurance coverage through their employers, new findings from the Commonwealth Fund (PDF) show that fewer than half of U.S. employees in small firms were eligible for and were offered health insurance through their jobs in 2010, compared with 58% in 2003.
From 2001 to 2011, the study noted, the portion of individuals under the age of 65 who were covered by employer health plans fell to 57% from 68%. During this period, fewer workers in small firms—or those with 50 or fewer workers—were offered health insurance, were eligible to enroll in their company's health plans, and were actually enrolled. About 49% of employees in small firms were both eligible and offered such coverage in 2010.
Meanwhile, one-third received benefits through their jobs, down from about 42% in 2003. Some of the reasons why workers might not be eligible include not working a sufficient number of hours or being in a waiting period for coverage. As a comparison, about 90% of employees in large firms of 100 or more workers were both eligible and offered coverage through their employers in both 2003 and 2010, and about 70% enrolled in the plans.