Recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau revealed the percentage of young Maryland residents with health insurance coverage increased to nearly 82 percent in 2011, up from 75 percent in 2009, well above the national average.
The significant growth in health coverage for Maryland residents ages 19 to 25 is being attributed to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act healthcare reform law, which expanded Medicaid and private health coverage for the demographic. The healthcare reform law was enacted across the country, yet residents and employers in Maryland leveraged the legislation to advance healthcare within the state well beyond the majority of the nation.
The Maryland Gazette reported employers statewide are helping employees to stay healthy in order to lower health insurance costs and boost overall wellness. Many employers are investing in wellness initiatives that reward employees for exercising and engaging in wellness activities. Some employers are going so far as to open up wellness and workout facilities near their offices to further encourage healthy lifestyle decisions by employees receiving coverage.
A recent study from Harvard University revealed every dollar spent on wellness programs will save $3.27 in medical costs and $2.73 in absenteeism costs when an employee is home sick. These savings are significant for employers that are facing higher health insurance rates and other budgetary costs, the Gazette reported.