Fewer companies offering medical coverage to employees - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Fewer companies offering medical coverage to employees

Posted: Updated:

KENNEWICK, Wash.--  The Washington Employment Security Department says fewer companies are offering medical coverage to workers.

According to its data, the number of firms offering health insurance fell 1.6% from 2008 to 2009, from 56.5% to 54.9%.  The biggest drop, though, was the year before, from 2007 to 2998- a 10% drop. 

Economists say there's a direct correlation between the number of companies offering medical coverage and the economy.  They say the biggest drop was in 2008, when the first recession hit.

Jamie Swift, Communications Manager for the Employment Security Department, explains, "When the economy starts going bad, companies are going to look to cut back where ever they can and still try to hold onto their employees.  Unfortunately, the benefits, including medical benefits, are the victim of the economy and rising costs."

Swift says the good news, though, is in 2009 more employers offered paid days off.  Firms offering paid vacation increased from 63% to 65%.