Severing the Link Between Health Insurance and Employment

Lessons from the 1999 Youth and Money Survey

August 1999, Vol. 20, No. 8
Paperback, 12 pp.
PDF, 61 kb
Employee Benefit Research Institute, 1999

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Executive Summary

Severing the Link Between Health Insurance and Employment—What
would happen if the link between employment and health benefits
were broken? Would “adverse selection” transform the
economics of health insurance and ultimately drive the market
into a “death spiral” of ever-increasing health
insurance premiums? Would fewer Americans be covered by private
health insurance and would government-financed universal coverage
result? Would health care coverage and quality improve? And what
would the American public support?

Leaders of the health care industry, the benefits sector,
unions, employers and legislators examined these questions during
the Employee Benefit Research Institute-Education and Research
Fund's May 5, 1999, policy forum on “Severing the Link
Between Health Insurance and Employment.” Attended by more
than a hundred invited experts, and funded by the Robert Wood
Johnson Foundation, the policy forum examined the link between
health insurance and employment, how various federal policies
might put that link at risk, and what the implications of those
policies might be for workers, employers, and the government.

Lessons from the 1999 Youth and Money Survey—Financial
attitudes and habits developed when young—whether positive or
negative—can last a lifetime and have a dramatic impact on an
individual's ultimate economic security. Therefore, better
understanding of the thoughts and behavior of young Americans, as
well as the information sources that affect them, is the first
step toward ensuring an adult population that is capable of
making competent financial decisions. A better understanding of
these issues was the objective of the 1999 Youth and Money
Survey, which surveyed high school and college students.