Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance and the Promise of Health Insurance Reform

Thomas C. Buchmueller, Alan C. Monheit

NBER Working Paper No. 14839
Issued in April 2009
NBER Program(s):Health Care, Health Economics

The central role that employers play in financing health care is a distinctive feature of the U.S. health care system, and the provision of health insurance through the workplace has important implications well beyond its role as source of health care financing. In this paper, we consider the "goodness of fit" of ESI in the current economic and health insurance environments and in light of prospects for a vigorous national debate over shape of health care reform. The main issue that we explore is whether ESI can have a viable role in health system reform efforts or whether such coverage will need to be significantly modified or even abandoned as reform seeks to address important issues in the efficient provision and equitable distribution of health insurance coverage, to create expanded health plan choices and competition in health insurance markets, and to structure incentives for the more efficient use of health services.

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A non-technical summary of this paper is available in the 2009 number 2 issue of the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health. You can sign up to receive the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health by email.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w14839

Published: Thomas C. Buchmueller & Alan C. Monheit, 2009. "Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance and the Promise of Health Insurance Reform," INQUIRY: The Journal of Health Care Organization, Provision, and Financing, vol 46(2), pages 187-202.

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