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Worker Sorting, Taxes and Health Insurance Coverage

  • Kevin Lang

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Boston University)

  • Hong Kang

    ()

    (Department of Economics, Boston University)

We develop a model in which firms hire heterogeneous workers but must offer all workers insurance benefits under similar terms. In equilibrium, some firms offer free health insurance, some require an employee premium payment and some do not offer insurance. Making the employee contribution pre-tax lowers the cost to workers of a given employee premium and encourages more firms to charge. This increases the offer rate, lowers the take-up rate, increases (decreases) coverage among high (low) demand groups, with an indeterminate overall effect. We test the model using the expansion of section 125 plans between 1987 and 1996. The results are generally supportive.

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Paper provided by Boston University - Department of Economics in its series Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number WP2005-011.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bos:wpaper:wp2005-011
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Web page: http://www.bu.edu/econ/

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  1. Henry S. Farber & Helen Levy, 1998. "Recent Trends in Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Coverage: Are Bad Jobs Getting Worse?," Working Papers 781, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  2. Kahn, Shulamit & Lang, Kevin, 1988. "Efficient Estimation of Structural Hedonic Systems," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 29(1), pages 157-66, February.
  3. Gruber, Jonathan & Washington, Ebonya, 2005. "Subsidies to employee health insurance premiums and the health insurance market," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 253-276, March.
  4. Dey, M. S. & Flinn, C. J., 2000. "An Equilibrium Model of Health Insurance Provision and Wage Determination," Working Papers 00-18, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  5. Martha Starr-McCluer, 1994. "Health insurance and precautionary saving," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 94-10, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  6. Jonathan Gruber & Robin McKnight, 2002. "Why Did Employee Health Insurance Contributions Rise?," NBER Working Papers 8878, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Brown, Charles, 1980. "Equalizing Differences in the Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 94(1), pages 113-34, February.
  8. Miller, Nolan H., 2005. "Pricing health benefits: A cost-minimization approach," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(5), pages 931-949, September.
  9. Dranove, David & Spier, Kathryn E. & Baker, Laurence, 2000. "'Competition' among employers offering health insurance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 121-140, January.
  10. Jaeger, David A, 1997. "Reconciling the Old and New Census Bureau Education Questions: Recommendations for Researchers," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 15(3), pages 300-309, July.
  11. Jonathan Gruber & Ebonya Washington, 2003. "Subsidies to Employee Health Insurance Premiums and the Health Insurance Market," NBER Working Papers 9567, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Dougherty, C R S, 1972. "Estimates of Labor Aggregation Functions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(6), pages 1101-19, Nov.-Dec..
  13. Pauly, Mark V, 1986. "Taxation, Health Insurance, and Market Failure in the Medical Economy," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 24(2), pages 629-75, June.
  14. Kevin Lang & Sumon Majumdar, 2003. "The Pricing of Job Characteristics When Markets Do Not Clear: Theory and Implications," NBER Working Papers 9911, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Helen Levy, 1998. "Who Pays for Health Insurance? Employee Contributions to Health Insurance Premiums," Working Papers 777, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
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