NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Worker Sorting, Taxes and Health Insurance Coverage

Kevin Lang, Hong Kang

NBER Working Paper No. 13066
Issued in April 2007
NBER Program(s):   HE   LS

We develop a model in which firms hire heterogeneous workers but must offer all workers insurance benefits under similar terms. In equilibrium, some firms offer free health insurance, some require an employee premium payment and some do not offer insurance. Making the employee contribution pre-tax lowers the cost to workers of a given employee premium and encourages more firms to charge. This increases the offer rate, lowers the take-up rate, increases (decreases) coverage among high (low) demand groups, with an indeterminate overall effect. We test the model using the expansion of section 125 plans between 1987 and 1996. The results are generally supportive.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w13066

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