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Recent Trends in Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Coverage: Are Bad Jobs Getting Worse?

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  • Henry S. Farber
  • Helen Levy

Abstract

We examine whether the decline in the availability of employer-provided health insurance is a phenomenon common to all jobs or is concentrated only on certain jobs. In particular, we investigate the extent to which employers have continued to provide health insurance on what we term reducing the availability of health insurance on jobs. We consider two dimensions on which jobs may be considered peripheral: if they are new (tenure less than one year) or part-time. We consider three outcomes whose product is the health insurance coverage rate: 1) the fraction of workers who are in firms that offer health insurance to at least some workers (the offer rate); 2) the fraction of workers who are eligible for health insurance, conditional on being in a firm where it is offered (the eligibility rate); and 3) the fraction of workers who enroll in health insurance when they are eligible for it (the takeup rate). We find that declines in own-employer insurance coverage over the 1988-1997 period are driven primarily by declines in takeup for core workers and declines in eligibility for peripheral workers. We also look at trends by workers' education level and see how much of the decline is offset by an increase in coverage through a spouse's policy. Our findings are consistent with the view that employers are continuing to make health insurance available to their core long-term employees but are restricting access to health insurance by their peripheral short-term and pa

Suggested Citation

  • Henry S. Farber & Helen Levy, 1998. "Recent Trends in Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance Coverage: Are Bad Jobs Getting Worse?," NBER Working Papers 6709, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6709
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Shore-Sheppard Lara D., 2008. "Stemming the Tide? The Effect of Expanding Medicaid Eligibility On Health Insurance Coverage," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 8(2), pages 1-35, July.
    2. 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..
    3. Brown, Charles & Medoff, James, 1989. "The Employer Size-Wage Effect," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1027-1059, October.
    4. Farber, Henry S. & Levy, Helen, 2000. "Recent trends in employer-sponsored health insurance coverage: are bad jobs getting worse?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 93-119, January.
    5. Henry S. Farber, 1997. "Job Creation in the United States: Good Jobs or Bad?," Working Papers 764, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    6. Lara D. Shore-Sheppard, 2005. "Stemming the Tide? The Effect of Expanding Medicaid Eligibility on Health Insurance," NBER Working Papers 11091, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Susan N. Houseman, "undated". "Job Growth and the Quality of Jobs in the U.S. Economy," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles snh19951, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    8. David M. Cutler & Jonathan Gruber, 1996. "Does Public Insurance Crowd out Private Insurance?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 391-430.
    9. Katharine G. Abraham & James L. Medoff, 1984. "Length of Service and Layoffs in Union and Nonunion Work Groups," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 38(1), pages 87-97, October.
    10. repec:fth:prinin:398 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. repec:fth:prinin:361 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Henry S. Farber, 1997. "Job Creation in the United States: Good Jobs or Bad?," Working Papers 764, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    13. repec:fth:prinin:385 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. 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..
    15. repec:fth:prinin:402 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Lara Shore-Sheppard, 1996. "Stemming the Tide? The Effect of Expanding Medicaid Eligibility on Health Insurance Coverage," Working Papers 740, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General

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