New Evidence On Employer Price-Sensitivity Of Offering Health Insurance
Economic incentives such as the preferential tax treatment of premiums and economies of scale encourage employers to provide health insurance through the workplace. The employer’s decision to offer health insurance depends on how much workers value insurance relative to wages, and that value is likely to vary, given the composition of the establishment´s workforce. Using the 2008-2010 MEPS Insurance Component augmented with information from other data sources, we generate new estimates of employers’ price-sensitivity of offering insurance. Our results suggest that employers are sensitive to changes in the tax price of insurance, with very small employers exhibiting the largest price-sensitivity. Employer size, workforce composition, and local labor market conditions also influence the employer’s decision to offer insurance. New evidence can inform policy discussions about the implications of broad-based reforms that change marginal tax rates as well as targeted strategies that address the tax-exempt status of premiums.
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