JOURNAL ARTICLE

The effect of employment status on private health insurance coverage: 1977 and 1987

S L Rhine, Y C Ng
Health Economics 1998, 7 (1): 63-79
9541085
Analyzing cross-sectional data from the National Medical Expenditure Survey (NMES), we find that the predicted probability of private insurance coverage for low-income individuals as a group fell dramatically from 1977 to 1987. The results of a decompositional technique show that the relationship between full-time employment and private insurance has weakened over the period for low-income females, but has strengthened for males in this group. While it appears that low-income females benefit from part-time employment relative to their unemployed cohorts, no discernible difference is found in the likelihood of being covered by private insurance for part-time and unemployed males. Finally, evidence suggesting a weakening over time in the relationship between part-time employment and private insurance coverage is found among middle-income females and high-income males. From a policy perspective, passage of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 has taken an important first step in attempting to lower the number of uninsured, especially among full-time workers. Our findings, however, suggest that this legislation may be too limited in scope to effectively reach part-time workers presently uninsured.

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