Union Status and Employment-Based Health Benefits, Facts from EBRI: The Basics of Social Security, New Publications and Internet Sites

May 2005, Vol. 26, No. 5
Paperback, 12 pp.
PDF, 198 kb
Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2005

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Executive Summary

Union Status and Employment-Based Health Benefits


•Coverage rates: Union workers are much more likely to have employment-based
health benefits than nonunion workers. In September 2003, 86 percent of union
workers were covered by health benefits through their own job, compared with
59.5 percent of nonunion workers. Overall, 95.4 percent of union workers
had employment-based health benefits, compared with 77.8 percent of nonunion
workers.
•Uninsured: Although union workers were less likely than nonunion
workers to have employment-based coverage as a dependent (9.4 percent and
18.3 percent, respectively), union workers were much less likely to be uninsured.
Only 2.5 percent of union workers were uninsured in September 2003, compared
with 15 percent of nonunion workers.

•Erosion: As union workers account for a declining share of the working population,
further erosion of unionization is likely to coincide with an overall erosion
in the percentage of workers with employment-based health benefits. But if
the decline in unionization is concentrated in the private sector, the percentage
of union workers with health benefits may increase because union workers
would be increasingly employed by the public sector.


The Basics of Social Security, Updated With the 2005 Trustees Report


•Beneficiaries: In 2004, 39.6 million beneficiaries received benefit payments
from the OASI program. In 2004, 7.8 million individuals, disabled workers,
and their dependents received benefit payments. Under intermediate assumptions,
the number of OASI beneficiaries is projected to increase to 43.2 million
in 2010 and to 71.2 million in 2030, and the number of DI beneficiaries is
projected to increase to 9.4 million in 2010 and to 12.3 million in 2030.

•Projected deficit: The unfunded obligation of the OASDI trust funds,
through the end of the 75-year projection period ending in 2079, is estimated
to be $4.0 trillion. Under intermediate assumptions, the combined OASDI trust
fund expenses are expected to exceed income from taxes in 2017. By 2027,
OASDI expenses are expected to exceed income from taxes plus interest income,
and the trust fund is expected to be exhausted by 2041.

•Share of GDP: In 2004, expenditures of the OASDI trust funds were the equivalent
to 4.3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). By 2080, that percentage
is estimated to increase to 6.4 percent.