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Report: More Lay-Offs of Health Insurance at Work

October 13, 2008

Casper, WY – Wyoming residents may have noticed something missing at work: their health insurance. A report released by the Equality State Policy Center shows that despite job growth in energy industries, the percentage of full-time employees who are offered health coverage at work is dropping.

Dan Neal, ESPC executive director, says state numbers show 42 percent of companies offer health insurance, down from 50 percent five years ago.

"This is a trend nationally, as well as in Wyoming. It's going to force us to address the need to make sure that everybody has access to quality, affordable health care."

The bright spot in the insurance picture shines on children, with kids in low-income families covered through Medicaid and "Kid Care CHIP." The latter, says Neal, should be seen as one of the building blocks to broadening access to health care. His group supports expanding Kid Care to include parents as well.

"We've got the resources now, thanks to the energy boom, and we need to step up and start figuring out how we can build a method of covering everyone in Wyoming."

The report indicates the insurance situation is worst for people working in the state's growing tourism industry, in which fewer than one-quarter of the employers provide health coverage. Read it online at
www.equalitystate.org.

Deborah Smith/Steve Powers, Public News Service - WY