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Worker Sorting, Taxes and Health Insurance Coverage

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  • Kevin Lang
  • Hong Kang

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin Lang & Hong Kang, 2007. "Worker Sorting, Taxes and Health Insurance Coverage," NBER Working Papers 13066, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13066
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Starr-McCluer, Martha, 1996. "Health Insurance and Precautionary Savings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 285-295, March.
    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 157-166, February.
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    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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..
    7. 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.
    8. Matthew S. Dey & Christopher J. Flinn, 2005. "An Equilibrium Model of Health Insurance Provision and Wage Determination," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 73(2), pages 571-627, March.
    9. 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 629-675, June.
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    11. Gruber, Jonathan & McKnight, Robin, 2003. "Why did employee health insurance contributions rise?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(6), pages 1085-1104, November.
    12. 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.
    13. Charles Brown, 1980. "Equalizing Differences in the Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 94(1), pages 113-134.
    14. Miller, Nolan H., 2005. "Pricing health benefits: A cost-minimization approach," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(5), pages 931-949, September.
    15. 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.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions

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