Group health shrinks as individual health grows
By National Underwriter
By Allison Bell
The government is documenting what commercial health carriers and brokers have been saying for months: 2010 was a terrible year for group health plan enrollment.
Brokers, consultants and others said group plan case sizes fell that year as employers slashed head counts.
Analysts at the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) say in the latest National Health Expenditure Accounts report that group health enrollment fell by 2.6 percent, to 166 million.
The drop meant that 4.5 million more Americans lost employer-sponsored coverage than gained it.
The number of people with individual health coverage increased 3.6 percent, to 22 million, but that market is much smaller than the group market. The increase in individual health program enrollment translated into a net gain of only 800,000 covered lives.
Enrollment in Medicare increased 2.5 percent, to 47 million, and enrollment in Medicaid increased 5.8 percent, to 54 million.
Together, those programs and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) now cover about 104 million people, or about one-third of the U.S. population.
The number of people who were uninsured increased 1.6 percent, to 47 million. The rate of increase in the number of uninsured people was down from 8.9 percent in 2009.
Originally published on LifeHealthPro.com