Employment-Based Health Insurance: 1997

December 2002
Report Number: P70-81

Shailesh Bhandari


Over three-fourths (75.9 percent) of the employed population in 1997 had health insurance through their own employer or another person’s employer. Among the unemployed and those who were not in the labor force, 33.2 percent and 45.2 percent, respectively, were covered by employment-based health insurance — usually through a spouse or former employer. Overall, unemployed people were much more likely to be uninsured (46.4 percent) than employed people (14.7 percent) or people not in the labor force (12.5 percent).

This report examines the characteristics of health insurance provided by employers and some characteristics of the employers that offer health insurance. Data for this report were collected from August to November of 1997 as part of the 1996 Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) panel wave 5 topical module on employment-based health benefits. The same topical module for 2001 SIPP panel was also administered from June 2002 to September 2002, but data from this topical module are not yet available. Additional information about labor market and health insurance status comes from SIPP core sections on health insurance, labor force, and employment. People aged 15 and over in approximately 32,000 households were interviewed.

April 2001
July 2002