Employer-provided health insurance provides a net benefit of $1.5 trillion to Americans through its value to employers and employees and its role in driving down the prices charged by health care providers, according to a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed from Casey Mulligan, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago, who served as chief economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisers from 2018 to 2019.
Employer-provided coverage delivers affordable access to care, effective ways to improve health, and financial security for more than 183 million Americans every day. From comprehensive health insurance coverage and income protection to dental and vision benefits, Americans have real choices and real control in the care and protection they receive through work.
Employers and employees value employer-provided health insurance 75% to 84% beyond what they pay for it, Mulligan said, citing research from the National Bureau of Economic Research. Employer-provided health insurance also uses the power of its members to negotiate significant cost savings and bring competition into the health care space.
Alternatives to employer-provided health insurance, such as a public option, don’t offer the same value, Mulligan said.
Employers were at the forefront of responding to the COVID-19 crisis, working to keep millions of Americans covered even when furloughed, supporting access to care throughout the pandemic with rapid plan modifications like increased telehealth, and delivering access to vaccinations.