The percentage of Americans with employment-based health insurance dipped below 60 percent in 2009, a lot of it attributed to job losses, according to the latest study by the Washington, D.C.-based Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI).

Overall, the percentage of individuals under age 65 with employment-based coverage declined from 61.1 percent in 2008 to 59 percent in 2009—its lowest level in the 15-year period between 1994 and 2009.

The downward trend in Americans not being covered by employer-based health insurance has continued since 2000. The EBRI report has been tracking coverage since 1994 based on data released from the U.S. Census Bureau.

“These trends are due to job losses resulting from the recent recession and the slow economic recovery, fewer workers being eligible for health insurance coverage, and more workers with coverage choosing to drop it,” said Paul Fronstin, author of the EBRI report. “With unemployment remaining high, these trends are almost certain to continue when the data are released for 2010.”

The expiration of the COBRA subsidy also contributed to the decline.

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