The Carolinas are losing employer-based health insurance at a faster rate than nearly any other state in the country, according to a study released Thursday.
Nationally, the health insurance that covers most Americans has declined for seven years in a row, according to the Washington-based Economic Policy Institute, a nonpartisan, nonprofit that studies issues affecting working families.
About 63 percent of Americans under age 65 were covered by employer-based health insurance in 2007, the study found. In 2000, 68 percent were covered.
If the economy continues to slide and unemployment rises, larger declines are expected, said Elise Gould, a health economist and the study's author.
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“This continues an alarming trend that shows no signs of stopping,” said Adam Searing, director of the N.C. Health Access Coalition. “It should make people demand that politicians fix our broken health care system as part of fixing our broken economic system.
In North Carolina, about 59 percent of residents under age 65 had health insurance in 2007, compared to 67 percent in 2000. In South Carolina, 61 percent of residents were covered in 2007, compared to 69 percent in 2000.
For children, the news was even worse: Only 53 percent of N.C. children were covered by employer-sponsored health insurance in 2007, down from 63 percent in 2000. In South Carolina, 58 percent of children were insured in 2007, compared to 67 percent in 2000.
Nationwide, 3.4 million fewer children had employment-based coverage in 2007 than 2000.