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

Author

Listed:
  • Henry S. Farber

    (Princeton University)

  • Helen Levy

    (University of California Berkeley)

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 core jobs while reducing the availability of health insurance on peripheral 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 worker 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 take up rate). We find that declines in own-employer insurance coverage over the 1988-1997 period are driven primarily by declines in take up 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 in 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, full-time employees but are restricting access to health insurance by their peripheral short-term and part-time employees.

Suggested Citation

  • 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..
  • Handle: RePEc:pri:indrel:402
    as

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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. Lawrence F. Katz & Kevin M. Murphy, 1992. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963–1987: Supply and Demand Factors," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 35-78.
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    4. 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.
    5. Henry S. Farber, 1995. "Are Lifetime Jobs Disappearing? Job Duration in the United States: 1973-1993," Working Papers 720, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. repec:fth:prinin:398 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. 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..
    10. 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..
    11. Henry S. Farber, 1995. "Are Lifetime Jobs Disappearing? Job Duration in the United States: 1973-1993," NBER Working Papers 5014, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. 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..
    13. repec:pri:indrel:dsp01ng451h49q is not listed on IDEAS
    14. repec:fth:prinin:361 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Meyer, Bruce D. & Rosenbaum, Dan T., 2000. "Making Single Mothers Work: Recent Tax and Welfare Policy and Its Effects," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 53(4), pages 1027-1062, December.
    2. Laura Bucila, 2008. "Employment-Based Health Insurance and the Minimum Wage," Working Papers 0812, College of the Holy Cross, Department of Economics.
    3. Norman Thurston, 1999. "On the decline of employment-based health insurance in the US," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(10), pages 683-686.
    4. Janet Currie & Aaron Yelowitz, 1999. "Health Insurance and Less Skilled Workers," NBER Working Papers 7291, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    employer-sponsored health insurance;

    JEL classification:

    • F30 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - General
    • F31 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Exchange

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