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Wages, Health Benefits, and Workers' Health


Employer-based health insurance provides the majority of U.S. workers with access to health care and protection against devastating financial losses. Millions of workers, however, do not receive health benefits from their employers, and few sources of affordable coverage exist outside the employer-based system. This study, based on data from the Commonwealth Fund Biennial Health Insurance Survey, finds a deep divide in the U.S. labor force and an urgent need for expanding access to comprehensive and affordable coverage to working Americans and their families. According to the authors, higher-wage workers are more likely than their lower-paid counterparts to have health insurance and health-related benefits, such as paid sick leave, and to use preventive care services. Low-wage workers, meanwhile, are much more likely to forgo needed health care because of cost and to report problems paying medical bills.

Publication Details

Publication Date: October 1, 2004

Wages, Health Benefits, and Workers' Health, Sara R. Collins, Ph.D., Karen Davis, Ph.D., Michelle M. Doty, Ph.D., and Alice Ho, The Commonwealth Fund, October 2004


Michelle M. Doty
Vice President, Survey Research and Evaluation, The Commonwealth Fund
Sara Collins
Vice President, Health Care Coverage and Access, The Commonwealth Fund
Professor Emerita in the Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health