WASHINGTON (AP) - American workers are getting squeezed like no
other group by private health insurance premiums that are rising much faster than their wages.
A new study to be released today say just about all retirees are covered, and nearly 90 percent of children have health insurance. But workers now are at significantly higher risk of being uninsured than in the 1990s, the last time lawmakers attempted a health care overhaul.
The study for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found that nearly 1 in 5 workers is uninsured, a significant increase from fewer than 1 in 7 during the mid-1990s.
The problem is cost. Total premiums for employer plans have risen six to eight times faster than wages, depending on whether individual or family coverage is picked, the study found.
About 20.7 million workers were uninsured in the mid-1990s. A decade later, it was 26.9 million, an increase of about 6 million, the study found.
In the 1990s, there were eight states with 20 percent or more of the working age population uninsured. Now there are 14: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina and Texas.