The Fund strives to keep the nation's leaders focused on the widening uninsured crisis while identifying strategies for expanding and improving health coverage. Researchers have tracked trends in coverage of young adults—the fastest-growing uninsured group—and exploring opportunities for getting them in a health plan. An option first presented by the Fund in 2004—requiring that policies cover dependents past age 19—has been enacted into law by five states.

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he Program on the Future of Health Insurance envisions an efficiently run health insurance system that makes available to all Americans comprehensive, affordable coverage. In support of that vision, the program seeks to:
Analyze market- and policy-driven changes in employer-based insurance and public insurance programs for people under age 65, and determine how those changes may affect the numbers of people covered and the quality of coverage.
Document the consequences of being uninsured and underinsured with regard to access to care, health, personal financial security, and economic productivity.
Develop and evaluate strategies to expand and stabilize health coverage, make it more affordable, and enhance efficiency in its administration.
Employers, both private and public, are the primary source of health insurance for people under age 65 (Medicare covers most of the elderly). Some 160 million U.S. workers and their dependents receive health benefits through the workplace. But in recent years, good, comprehensive coverage has been harder to come by. Although annual growth in national health care expenditures and premiums has leveled off at around 7 percent, it continues to outpace economic and wage growth by a wide margin. As a result, employers that provide health benefits—especially small firms—are finding it difficult to maintain their level of generosity.(1) (2) (3) Businesses have tried to cope by sharing more of their expenses with employees, but some small companies have eliminated health benefits altogether.(4) Nearly the entire increase in the number of uninsured Americans between 2000 and 2005—from 40.2 million to 46.6 million—is attributable to the decline in employer coverage.
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Sara R. Collins, Ph.D.
Assistant Vice President