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Data Provide Details on Characteristics of Health Insurance of U.S. Workers

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Quick Stats from AHRQ: February 21, 2003

During the first half of 2000, more than 60 percent (71 million) of working Americans under 65 years of age had health insurance they obtained through their primary place of employment, according to data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The data, collected by AHRQ's Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, are published in a new statistical brief detailing the characteristics of U.S. workers with health insurance that they obtained from their primary employer. The statistical brief does not focus on other sources of insurance coverage obtained through a family member's employment, an individually purchased private policy, public insurance, or another job.

Other details on characteristics of workers and health insurance include:

  • In the first half of 2000, among occupational groups, managers and administrators were most likely to be insured (73.3 percent). Farm laborers were least likely to have insurance through their own workplace (28.4 percent).
  • Higher hourly earnings were associated with a greater likelihood of workers having health insurance coverage through their primary place of employment. While only one-third of workers making less than minimum wage ($5.15 per hour) had insurance coverage from their primary employer in the first half of 2000, 83.2 percent of workers making more than $21 per hour had insurance.
  • Employees who belonged to a labor union were much more likely to be covered by health insurance through their main job than nonunion workers (88 percent of union workers vs. 57.6 percent of nonunion workers).
  • Government employees had higher rates of health insurance coverage through their own workplace in 2000 than employees in private industry.

Details can be found in the Statistical Brief, Differentials in Employment-Related Health Insurance Coverage—2000, found at (PDF Help).

Another recent statistical brief on workers, entitled The Health Insurance Status of U.S. Workers—2001, found at (PDF Help), compared job characteristics of uninsured workers between 1996 and 2001, and found that, overall, the relationship between job characteristics and health insurance status of workers has not changed. In general, workers in 2001 were as likely to be uninsured as they were in 1996.

General information about MEPS is available at

For more information, please contact AHRQ Public Affairs, (301) 427-1364: Karen Carp, (301) 427-1858 (; Karen Migdail, (301) 427-1855 (


The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


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