University of Minnesota researchers say nearly 240,000 fewer Minnesotans got their health insurance through an employer in 2011 compared to 2000.
The university's State Health Access Data Assistance Center reports that 71 percent of Minnesotans received their health insurance through their employer in 2011, down from about 80 percent in 2000.
Higher costs are at the root of the decline, said State Health Access Data Assistance Center director Lynn Blewett. Employer insurance costs per employee more than doubled. Blewett said while Minnesota is still one of top states in employers offering insurance, those numbers are declining steadily.
"Part of that is the downturn in the economy," Blewett said. "A lot of employers dropped coverage, a lot of small employers, low-wage employers."
Blewett said not only are fewer employers offering insurance, fewer workers are accepting it even when it is available because it's too expensive.
"The premiums are higher, the out-of-pocket costs are higher," Blewett said. "Many individuals are just saying, 'I can't afford this coverage.' "
Blewett says while there is good safety net health insurance for children in Minnesota, it's more difficult for adults to find health insurance, especially for those without children.
The average costs of insurance premiums for employee-only coverage in Minnesota more than doubled in the past decade from $2,455 annually to $5,195. Family premiums rose even more from $6,588 in 2000 to $14,721 in 2011.
State Health Access Data Assistance Center's report says the the declines vary widely by state. Massachusetts remained stable while Michigan had the biggest drop.