Employment-Based Health Insurance and Job Mobility: Is There Evidence ofJob-Lock?
NBER Working Paper No. 4476
This paper assesses the impact of employer-provided health insurance on job mobility by exploring the extent to which workers are 'locked' into their jobs because preexisting conditions exclusions make it expensive for individuals with medical problems to relinquish their current health insurance. I estimate the degree of job-lock by comparing the difference in the turnover rates of those with high and low medical expenses for those with and without employer-provided health insurance. Using data from the 1987 National Medical Expenditure Survey, I estimate that job-lock reduces the voluntary turnover rate of those with employer-provided health insurance by 25 percent, from 16 percent to 12 percent per year.
Published: Quarterly Journal of Economics, February 1994, 109: p. 27-54