Private health insurance in Michigan and the U.S.: Declines in employer-sponsored insurance

September 25, 2013

A doctor holding a credit card reader.

More than 500,000 people in Michigan lost their private health insurance from 2008 to 2011. The primary reason for the decline in private insurance in Michigan and in the nation was the erosion of employer-sponsored insurance (ESI), the most common way that Americans get private coverage.

From 1999 to 2011, the proportion of individuals covered by ESI decreased by approximately 15 percent nationwide. In Michigan during that time, the percentage of people with ESI fell by 20 percent, the second greatest reduction among all states, exceeded only by South Carolina.

In spite of these declines, in 2011 the proportion of people covered by employer-sponsored plans in Michigan remained 4.5 percentage points higher than the national average, in part because a larger percentage of employers in Michigan have historically offered health insurance.

This issue brief describes trends in private health insurance coverage in Michigan and the U.S., and focuses on coverage both by industry type and by income level. Key findings include:

  • The percentage of people with private coverage declined by more than 4 percentage points in both Michigan and the nation from 2008 to 2011. Reductions in the proportion of people with employer-based plans drove the overall decline in private coverage nationally and in Michigan, while the proportion of people with individually purchased coverage fell more slowly.
  • The percentage of employers offering health benefits fell by approximately 5 percentage points from 2008 to 2011 in Michigan and the U.S. However, a larger proportion of employers in several industries in Michigan offered benefits in 2011, compared to the national average, including manufacturing, agriculture, and construction.
  • In Michigan from 2010 to 2011, approximately 55,000 low-income people aged 18 to 25 years gained or retained private insurance as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).


Suggested Citation: Hammoud, Abdullah; Dreyer, Theresa; Baum, Nancy; and Udow-Phillips, Marianne. Private Health Insurance in Michigan, 2008 to 2011. Cover Michigan 2013. September 2013. Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation. Ann Arbor, MI.