Thursday, May 06, 2021

Fear of losing health insurance keeps 1 in 6 workers in their jobs


News Release 6-May-2021
Black workers 50% more likely to stay in unwanted jobs than white workers
West Health Institute


One out of every six adult workers (16%) in the United States are staying in jobs they might otherwise leave out of fear of losing their employer-sponsored health insurance, according to a new West Health-Gallup survey of more than 3,800 U.S. adults.

The survey finds the fear is even more pronounced among Black workers, who are 50% more likely to remain in an unwanted job than their White and Hispanic counterparts (21% to 14% and 16%, respectively).

But the most likely to stay in a job they would rather leave are those workers in households earning less than $48,000 a year -- roughly 3 in 10 (28%) say they will not leave and risk losing their health benefits. Workers in lower income households are nearly three times more likely to stay in an unwanted job than are workers living in households earning at least $120,000 per year. According to a report by the Congressional Research Service, 37% of U.S. households earned less than $50,000 in 2019. Approximately 158 million people receive health insurance via their own employer or via the employer of a household member.

"Healthcare costs have become so high that many Americans are unwilling to risk any disruption in their coverage even if that means higher and higher premiums and deductibles and sticking with a job they may not like," said Tim Lash, chief strategy officer for West Health, a family of nonprofit and nonpartisan organizations dedicated to lowering healthcare costs to enable successful aging. "Americans are increasingly concerned that they will get priced out of the U.S. healthcare system and are struggling to hang on in any way they can."

Earlier this year, an estimated 46 million or 18% of the U.S. population reported that they could not afford healthcare if they needed it today. In this latest survey, three times as many Americans or approximately135 million adults, are worried that they will eventually be priced out of healthcare if they are not already.


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