How Does Union Membership Affect Health Insurance Coverage?

How Does Union Membership Affect Health Insurance Coverage?

Volume 141

Pages 1

EBRI Fast Facts

Oct 28, 2009

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Oct. 28, 2009 #141 Contact: John MacDonald, EBRI, (202) 775-6349, How Does Union Membership Affect Health Insurance Coverage? WASHINGTON—How does union membership affect the likelihood of a worker having health insurance benefits? Union workers are much more likely to have employment-based health benefits than nonunion workers, according to the October 2009 EBRI Notes, available at In September 2007, 83 percent of union workers were covered by health benefits through their own job, compared with 58 percent of nonunion workers (see chart below). Union workers are more likely to be employed in the public sector, manufacturing industry, blue-collar occupations, and in full-time jobs. Union workers tend to have higher annual earnings than nonunion workers. Other details: • Between 2003 and 2007, there was a 3 percentage point decline in the likelihood that a union worker had health coverage through his or her own job. A similar decline was not experienced among nonunion workers. Specifically, in 2007, 82.7 percent of union workers had coverage from their own job, down from 86 percent in 2003. Most of the decline in coverage from a union worker’s own job was offset by an increase in the percentage of workers covered as a dependent on someone else’s employment-based health plan. • Premiums are higher in plans with union workers as compared with plans that have no union workers. In 2008, the premium was $4,836 for employee-only coverage in plans with at least some union workers, whereas it was $4,635 in plans with no union workers. Family premiums were $13,009 in plans with at least some union workers, and $12,507 in plans with no union workers. In both cases, the premiums for plans with at least some union workers were 4 percent higher than the premiums for plans with no union workers (source: Kaiser Family Foundation). Wage and Salary Workers Ages 18–64 With Selected Sources of Health Insurance, by Union Status, September 2007 Employment-Based Coverage Individually Total Total Total Own name Dependent Purchased Public Uninsured (millions) Total 123.6 97.6 76.2 21.3 5.0 8.1 15.6 Union 17.5 16.4 14.4 2.0 0.2 0.7 0.5 Nonunion 106.1 81.1 61.8 19.3 4.8 7.4 15.1 (percentage within coverage category) Total 100.0% 78.9% 61.7% 17.3% 4.0% 6.5% 12.6% Union 100.0 94.2 82.7 11.5 1.0 4.0 2.9 Nonunion 100.0 76.4 58.2 18.2 4.5 7.0 14.2 Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute estimates of the Survey of Income and Program Participation, 2004 Panel, Wave 12. Note: Details may not add to totals because individuals may receive coverage from more than one source. Fast Facts from EBRI is issued by the nonpartisan Employee Benefit Research Institute to highlight benefits information that may be of current interest. Established in 1978, EBRI is an independent nonprofit organization committed exclusively to data dissemination, policy research, and education on economic security and employee benefits. EBRI does not take policy positions and does not lobby. EBRI is now on Twitter! Name: @EBRI URL: Sign up for our RSS feeds!