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Health Insurance and Less Skilled Workers

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  • Janet Currie
  • Aaron Yelowitz

Abstract

We begin this research with the belief that low and declining levels of private-employer sponsored health insurance were a continuing problem, especially among less skilled workers. Our analysis, however, paints a more complex picture. Using data from the March CPS, the SIP, and CPS benefits surveys, we find that while many less skilled workers remain uncovered, the decline in private employer-sponsored health insurance coverage has slowed recently and may even have reversed. Neither crowdout nor a deterioration in the quality of jobs available to the less skilled seems likely to fully explain these time-series trends in health insurance coverage. A simple explanation that has been largely overlooked is that rising health care costs have driven much of the reduction in private insurance coverage, but it is more difficult to test this hypothesis given the available data.

Suggested Citation

  • Janet Currie & Aaron Yelowitz, 1999. "Health Insurance and Less Skilled Workers," NBER Working Papers 7291, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7291
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bruce D. Meyer & Dan T. Rosenbaum, 2001. "Welfare, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Labor Supply of Single Mothers," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(3), pages 1063-1114.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Chernew, Michael & Cutler, David & Keenan, Patricia S., 2005. "Increasing Health Insurance Costs and the Decline in Health Insurance Coverage," Scholarly Articles 2660660, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    2. Kosali Ilayperuma Simon & Robert Kaestner, 2003. "Do Minimum Wages Affect Non-wage Job Attributes? Evidence on Fringe Benefits and Working Conditions," NBER Working Papers 9688, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Thomas C. Buchmueller & John Dinardo & Robert G. Valletta, 2002. "Union Effects on Health Insurance Provision and Coverage in the United States," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 55(4), pages 610-627, July.
    4. Picone Gabriel & Sloan Frank, 2001. "How Costly Are Smokers to Other People? Longitudinal Evidence on the Near Elderly," Forum for Health Economics & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-31, January.
    5. Currie, Janet & Fahr, John, 2004. "Hospitals, managed care, and the charity caseload in California," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 421-442, May.
    6. Marianne P. Bitler & Jonah B. Gelbach & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2005. "Welfare Reform and Health," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(2).
    7. Marianne Bitler & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2006. "Welfare Reform and Indirect Impacts on Health," NBER Working Papers 12642, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Fredrik Andersson & Iben Bolvig & Matthew Freedman & Julia Lane, 2011. "Lost jobs and health insurance: an analysis of the impact of employment volatility on firm-provided health insurance," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(23), pages 3051-3073.
    9. Anne Beeson Royalty, 2000. "Do Minimum Wage Increases Lower the Probability that Low-Skilled Workers Will Receive Fringe Benefits?," JCPR Working Papers 172, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    10. Meyer, Rebecca & Orazem, Peter & Wachenheim, William A., 2002. "Labor Market Implications of Rising Costs of Employer-Provided Health Insurance," Staff General Research Papers Archive 10016, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    11. Bruce D. Meyer & Dan T. Rosenbaum, 1999. "Making Single Mothers Work: Recent Tax and Welfare Policy and its Effects," JCPR Working Papers 152, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    12. Kaestner, Robert & Kaushal, Neeraj, 2003. "Welfare reform and health insurance coverage of low-income families," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(6), pages 959-981, November.
    13. Marianne P. Bitler & Jonah B. Gelbach & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2005. "Welfare Reform and Health," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(2).
    14. repec:pri:crcwel:wp01-25-gibson is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Fligstein, Neil & Shin, Taek-Jin, 2003. "The shareholder value society: A review of the changes in working conditions and inequality in the U.S., 1976-2000," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt0z85d717, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
    16. Janet Currie & Firouz Gahvari, 2008. "Transfers in Cash and In-Kind: Theory Meets the Data," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(2), pages 333-383, June.
    17. Luojia Hu, 1999. "Use of Means-Tested Transfer Programs by Immigrants, Their Children, and Their Children's Children," JCPR Working Papers 71, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets

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