Employer Health Insurance Mandates and the Risk of Unemployment


This 2007 study looks at the effects of proposed “pay or play” health insurance mandates on employers, and specifically the potential for job loss.

Authors first looked at the projected cost of insurance mandates and the potential for resulting wage decreases as employers shift the new costs to workers. Researchers then focused on how many employees currently without health insurance make a wage so low that the cost of a health insurance mandate could not be deducted from their pay. This pool is considered “at risk” of job loss due to proposed employer mandates.

Researchers found that 33 percent of uninsured workers earn within $3 of the minimum wage, putting them at substantial risk for unemployment if their employers were required to offer health insurance. These workers were found to be disproportionately likely to be high school drop-outs or minorities.