Lower uninsured rates for Maryland workers are due to higher rates of employer sponsored coverage
BALTIMORE (February 1, 2012) -- The Maryland Health Care Commission (MHCC) has released its Medical Expenditure Panel Survey – Insurance Component (MEPS-IC), Maryland Sample through 2010, a biennial report that describes key characteristics of health insurance coverage provided through Maryland private-sector employers in 2010.
The uninsured rate among Maryland’s private-sector workers ages 19-64 (17 percent) is below the national rate (22 percent) due to a higher rate of employment-based coverage among the state’s private sector workers (72 percent versus 66 percent). Approximately 88 percent of Maryland’s private-sector employees worked in establishments that offered health insurance (offer rate), a figure that mirrors the national average. Although most private sector workers are in establishments that offer health insurance, in Maryland-to-U.S. comparisons by firm size, Maryland has a statistically higher offer rate in firms with fewer than 10 employees (57 percent versus 41 percent), likely attributable to Maryland’s longstanding small group market reform. Beginning in 2014, small employers with up to 50 employees will have additional coverage options through the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange that will be established as a result of national health care reform.
From 2004 to 2010, Maryland’s private sector health insurance premiums generally parallel the national premiums. The average premium for single coverage in PPO-type products (the most common type of coverage) offered by/through private employers in Maryland increased by 3.5 percent annually from $3,843 (nominal dollars) to $4,726, and the average premium for family coverage increased by 6.1 percent annually from $9,818 (nominal dollars) to $14,015.
The percent of the premium contributed by employees in Maryland in 2010 for single coverage (23 percent) and family coverage (27 percent) are statistically similar to the percents in 2008 and the national averages in 2010. The majority of all enrolled employees in 2010 had a plan with a deductible, but the percent was below the national average (65 percent versus 78 percent). The average deductibles for single and family coverage were higher for enrolled employees at small firms (fewer than 50 employees) than for enrollees at larger firms; the average deductibles were similar to the national averages. Among enrollees with a deductible in 2010, the majority of small firm enrollees had a deductible that met or exceeded the minimum for a Health Savings Account (HSA): $1,200 for individual coverage, $2,400 for family coverage. However, among enrollees at larger firms (50 or more employees), 22 percent of those with a deductible met or exceeded the HSA minimums.
Maryland’s self-insured rate among private sector employers in 2010 was significantly higher than the U.S. average: 63 percent versus 58 percent. In a self-insured health plan, the financial risk for the enrollees’ medical claims is assumed by the employer. Self-insured, private sector health plans operating under the Employee Retirement Security Act (ERISA) are exempt from state insurance laws, including mandated benefits.
For additional information about the MEPS-IC Report, contact Linda Bartnyska, Chief, Cost & Quality Analysis, 410-764-3782 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To access the report online, visit: http://mhcc.maryland.gov/health_insurance/insurance_coverage/mepsic2010.pdf