Fewer Americans getting health insurance from work


Reporter - Kendall Downing

MARION, Ill. - Who provides your health insurance? If it isn't your employer, then you are part of a growing trend.

About 60% of Americans get their health insurance through a job. But that's down from 70% from the year 2000.

A new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shows that as insurance through employment decreased, insurance costs increased.

The average annual premium doubled for employee-only coverage doubled from 2000 to 2011, and family premiums increased 125%.

Meanwhile a Gallup poll shows the number of Americans on government-sponsored health plans inched up from 23% in 2008 to nearly 26% in 2012.

Some small business owners said they can't offer insurance to employees because of the costs. One local bakery manager said skyrocketing premiums are standing in the way.

Lanna Ewell calls it peaceful work.

"I love my job," said Ewell.

She's been icing confections at Larry's House of Cakes in Marion, Illinois for three years. But trimming the cake isn't the hardest part, for her it's staying healthy. She and her husband haven't had insurance for six years.

"You don't have the money to go get yourself checked out over everything. It's very scary but you get through," she said.

Neil Clayton is the bakery's operating manager.

"It's just never been a viable option," said Clayton.

He said offering healthcare to all employees would crush the bottom line. The bakery has 42 employees at two locations.

Clayton said they've considered it over the years but now it likely will never happen, because premiums are so high.

They are looking into other possibilities, like health savings accounts.

"It breaks my heart to know that they put their health at risk working for us, because they aren't able to afford healthcare," he said.

Lanna Ewell said she understands the dilemma and doesn't hold it against her employer.

"Because it costs them, it's going to cost us. And that's the problem," she said.

She's one of a growing majority working without health insurance.

Clayton said because the business has fewer than 50 employees they will be exempted from the employer mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act.