Just because you got a new job doesn't mean you'll get to see this guy again any time soon.
The state's unemployment rate just keeps creeping up--now at 9.5 percent. So 2014--the year Obamacare goes into effect--might seem really far off if you lost your job and with it your employer-provided health care. But if you're hoping that landing a new gig will come with doctor's visits, the state Employment Security Department has bad news.
Yesterday, the department released the results of a survey of 10,000 Washington state businesses and found that the number offering health care benefits dropped 1.6 percent last year to less than 55 percent of all employers. In fact, the number of companies that offer the perk has been in free fall since 2004, when almost 68 percent had the benefit.
As if that weren't depressing enough, the amount that employers who do offer medical benefits contribute to their workers' health plans also shrank, while the cost of coverage rose. So you're paying more out of your own pocket, even if you have insurance at work.
And (yep, another downer) since the survey only concerns businesses that dropped health insurance plans or cut what they contribute, it doesn't reflect the decisions of companies like Boeing, that knocked only some employees out of their company policies. The Seattle Times reported last month that the airplane manufacturer plans to kill medical and retirement benefits to 600 non-union employees.
But wait! Lest you start thinking of defecting to Canada, some good news! The number of companies who offer some kind of retirement plan jumped from 37.7 percent in 2008 to 44.6 percent last year.
Then again, maybe employers are hoping you'll just die for want of health insurance before they have to put too much in, making it a relatively cheap perk.