Family Decisions to Enroll Employer-Based Health Insurance

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Family Decisions to Enroll Employer-Based Health Insurance
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Employer-Based Health Insurance: Family Decisions to Enroll. This issue brief analyzes the health insurance decisions of families that have access to employer coverage. It examines the issue …

Health Economics Program

September 2002

Issue Brief 2002-02

Employer-Based Health Insurance: Family Decisions to Enroll
Introduction
Employer-based health insurance is an important source of coverage in Minnesota, covering nearly 70 percent of the population. However, about one-fifth (23 percent) of Minnesota’s uninsured have access to employer coverage but are not enrolled. More than half (56 percent) of the uninsured who are eligible for employer coverage report that they are not enrolled because they cannot afford it. Understanding more about family decisions to enroll in employer coverage when it is available will provide policy makers with information that they can potentially use to further reduce the rate of uninsurance in Minnesota. This issue brief analyzes the health insurance decisions of families that have access to employer coverage. It examines the issue from two perspectives: first, it looks at how often families with access to employer coverage enroll at least part of the family; second, it looks at how often the entire family is covered by employer-based insurance when it is available. It also analyzes how these decisions vary by family income. Finally, this issue brief presents information on the insurance status of the "decliners" of employer-based insurance. The analysis in this issue brief is based on data from the 2001 Minnesota Health Access Survey, conducted by the Minnesota Department of Health in collaboration with the University of Minnesota, School of Public Health, Division of Health Services Research and Policy. The 2001 Minnesota Health Access Survey is the largest and most comprehensive health insurance survey conducted in Minnesota to date. The survey was funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration.

Takeup Rates of Employer-Based Health Insurance
Figure 1 presents information on the percentage of working families offered health insurance coverage through an employer.1 As shown in the figure, nearly 90 percent of working Minnesota families are eligible to enroll in employer health insurance. However, low income families are much less likely than average to have access to employer coverage: only about half (49 percent) of families with incomes at or below poverty had access to employer coverage, and only about three quarters (71 percent) of families with incomes from 101 to 200 percent of poverty were eligible to sign up for employer coverage.

Minnesota Department of Health



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