Employment-Based Health Insurance Coverage and its Decline:-2134

Employment-Based Health Insurance Coverage and its Decline:
The Growing Plight of Low-Wage Workers

This background paper examines the increase in uninsured workers and the growing disparity in health insurance coverage between low- and high-wage workers. While a larger proportion of higher wage workers had health coverage in 1996 than a decade before, coverage deteriorated for low-wage and less-educated workers, especially young men. The paper explores many explanations for this widening disparity. The primary cause is that while higher wage workers have retained access to employer-sponsored coverage, lower wage workers have less health benefits available and (especially when the deterioration in their real wages is taken into account) are less able to pay for coverage when it is offered by their employer.