State Basic Benefit Laws: Are They Reaching the Uninsured?—More than 34 million persons under age 65‐representing 16
percent of the 218 million persons in this group—currently do
not have health insurance. Among this population, nearly 30
million persons are working or are dependents of workers.
Forty-six percent of the working uninsured, or 13.5 million
people, work for firms with fewer than 25 employees.1 Health care
cost analysts often point out that one reason for the low level
of coverage among employees of small firms is the prevalence of
state mandated benefit laws, which they contend increase the cost
of health care premiums.
Retiree Health and Health Care Reform—Although many
policymakers currently are calling for comprehensive reform of
the U.S. health care system, a number of recent proposals have
focused on expanding coverage for specific groups. Some of these
proposals would affect current retirees and people near
retirement age. Legislation has been introduced that would reduce
Medicare eligibility to age 60, eliminate the waiting period
required prior to Medicare eligibility for Social Security
Disability Insurance (DI) beneficiaries, and allow dependents of
Medicare beneficiaries to purchase coverage.
Americans Would Trade Some Pension Benefits for Increased
Health Insurance, According to Recent EBRI/Gallup Survey—Sixty percent of Americans said they would be willing to accept a
reduction in employer contributions to a pension plan for
increased health benefits, according to a recent public opinion
survey conducted by EBRI and The Gallup Organization, Inc. Those
most likely to be willing to accept this exchange were
respondents with annual incomes less than $20,000 (66 percent),
females (65 percent), and those aged 18–34 (65 percent).