Monday, January 22, 2007

Study: Graying of Workforce May Be Leading to Graying of Health Insurance

According to study, published in the November-Decemer 2006 issue of Health Affairs,, trends are leading to the "graying" of the employment-based health insurance system, where older, higher-income people get private health insurance, and others increasingly have public coverage or go without.

According to Patricia Keenan, Ph.D., lead author of the article and assistant professor at the Yale School of Public Health, “Older, more affluent people are more likely to keep their employer-based coverage as premiums rise while others increasingly get public coverage or go without altogether. . . . Population aging combined with declines from rising premiums could further destabilize the employment-based health coverage system.”
She said private coverage has been in a slow decline since the late 1980s and younger and lower-income groups have disproportionately lost coverage. Keenan said even if the population with employment-based coverage remains quite healthy, costs of coverage could increase as the average age of people with group coverage rises.

Although the main driver of rising premium costs is ongoing changes in medical technology, Keenan said, there is the possibility that population aging will interact with ongoing differential declines in group coverage to add to ongoing increases in premium costs.
Full text of the article "The ‘Graying’ Of Group Health Insurance" is available for purchase online.

Source: Yale School of Public Health News Release (January 5, 2007)

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