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July 2007

In The Working Uninsured, the Center on Policy Initiatives reveals failings of the employment-based insurance system that working families have relied on for decades.

The study found that less than half of working adults in California get health insurance through their jobs. Very few are able to buy insurance individually and only 15% obtain it through a family member’s employer.

That leaves almost 5 million California workers dependent on publicly funded government health programs or completely uninsured.

The report also demonstrates wide disparities among industries, with the lowest rates of employer-provided coverage found in some of the state’s largest industries and lowest-paying occupations. Only 20% of workers in the hotel and restaurant industry have health insurance through their employer, compared to 74% in public administration.

The report concludes that public policies are needed to ensure that new jobs include affordable, comprehensive health insurance. Local governments can use their purchasing power and development strategies to promote the growth of jobs with health benefits. State legislation must require an equitable contribution from all employers, at a level sufficient to fund quality healthcare coverage for all workers.