Current trends indicate employment-based health insurance - themost common form of health insurance coverage - is slowly erodingand will likely continue to do so.

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According to new research from the nonpartisan Employee BenefitsResearch Institute, 61 percent of working-age Americans (includingworkers and their family members) had health coverage through a jobin 2008, down 1 percentage point from a year earlier. That's alsomore than 7 percentage points from the high of 68 percent in 2000,and lower than the 64 percent level of 1994, when former PresidentClinton last attempted health reform. Research implies a weakeconomy and growing unemployment will fuel this continuingdecline.

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While fewer people working no doubt means fewer individuals withaccess to health benefits in the workplace, EBRI indicates anincreasing number of workers are likely to forego coverage evenwhen it's available, as they face uncertainty regarding theeconomy, the future of job security and the possibility of healthreform.

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"Employers report that offering benefits has a positive impacton worker recruitment, retention, health status, and productivity,"writes Paul Fronstin, director of the EBRI health research andeducation program in EBRI's current Issue Brief. However,"Employers may believe in the business case for providing healthbenefits today, but in the future they may rethink the value thatoffering coverage provides, especially if health costs continue toescalate sharply or if health reform changes the valueproposition."

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Fronstin's study is based on year-end 2008 data from the U.S.Census Bureau's March 2009 Current Population Survey (the latestavailable), with some analysis based on other Census surveys.

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Even before the recession, economic vulnerability wasincreasing, especially among low- and middle-income families.According to the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), thenumber of individuals nation-wide with employer-provided healthinsurance fell sharply nationally, from 63.2 percent to 60.9 inrecent years before 2008's historical meltdown.

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But there are certain states outranking all others when it comesto key aspects related to their financial stability, including thenumber of workers receiving employment-based health insurance.

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CFED's 2009-2010 "Assets & Opportunity Scorecard" ranks the50 states and the District of Columbia on 58 performance measuresin the areas of Financial Assets & Income, Businesses &Jobs, Housing & Homeownership, Health Care and Education. Inaddition, the Scorecard also assesses states on the strength of itspolicies to help individuals and families build financialsecurity.

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Those states that earned an overall "A" in performance measureswere Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, NewHampshire, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming. Almost 90 percent ofemployers in Hawaii, for example, offer health care benefits totheir employees, as compared to only 40.1 percent in Montana.

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