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Why Employers Care

According to recent Census Bureau data, the amount of uninsured Americans has dropped slightly to 48.6 million in 2011 to 48 million in 2012. The slight rate change is likely due to coverage mandate provisions included in the Affordable Care Act (e.g. adult dependent coverage through age 26).

People without health coverage delay receipt of needed preventive and other health care, have lower health status, and often have higher health care costs when they do receive care. Employees with health coverage and employers who offer health coverage pay for some of the costs of the uninsured as hospitals, physicians and other health care providers shift some of the costs of care for the uninsured to those who pay for health care. Employers also pay for the uninsured if employees who were previously uninsured have higher initial health care utilization due to delayed health care needs when they finally are covered.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act includes provisions that will expand access of health insurance to the uninsured by some estimates of up to 25 million people by increasing enrollment in government programs as well as an individual mandate to purchase coverage. The Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate; however it concluded that the federal government's attempt to force states to expand Medicaid coverage to 133% of the federal poverty limit (FPL) was unconstitutional. States still have the option to expand Medicaid coverage, but the federal government can no longer threaten removal of all Medicaid funding as a penalty. Recently, the Congressional Budget Office projected the Supreme Court ruling would increase the amount of uninsured by 3 to 4 million people.

What Can Employers Do?

As members of the National Business Group on Health, employers can contact the Business Group's public policy team with concerns and to receive more information.

Relevant Tools and Resources Include:

Page last updated: January 29, 2014

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