United States Small Business Administration
Office of Advocacy
Measuring the Uninsured by Firm
and Employment Status (Part II)
by Mark C. Berger, Dan A. Black and Frank A. Scott
1995. 48p. Carolyn Looff and Associates, 1635 Ashwood Road, Lexington, KY 40502
under contract no. SBA-7642-OA-92
The objective of this study is twofold: 1) to estimate the extent of health insurance coverage and the number of uninsured people in the U.S. population with a focus on analyzing the uninsured by employment status and firm size, and 2) to estimate differences in health insurance and pension availability, eligibility and coverage for the self-employed and for wage-and-salary workers in firms of different sizes.
Measuring firm size differences in health insurance coverage of workers as well as coverage among the self-employed is important in assessing the effects of any health care reform proposal on small business. Pension availability and coverage is also an important issue facing small business. Health and pension benefits are closely linked, significant payroll costs.
Part I of the study evaluated alternative data sources used to produce estimates of the number of uninsured by employment status and firm size (see Research Summary no. 146). The number of insured and uninsured were estimated by employment status, firm size and economic and demographic characteristics of the working population using data from 1988 to 1992.
Part II provides tabulations and analyses of health insurance and pensions by employment status and firm size, as well as economic and demographic characteristics for both wage-and-salary workers (by firm size) and the self-employed. The 1993 data are compared with earlier analyses and tabulations of health insurance and pension data from 1979, 1983 and 1988.
Scope and Methodology
Part I focused on the March Current Population Surveys (CPS) from 1988 to 1992 to obtain detailed estimates of the uninsured and compared the CPS with the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). Both surveys are available from the Bureau of the Census and permit estimates of the number and extent of the total uninsured by employment status and firm size. Overall, the March CPS is better suited for a detailed analysis of the uninsured because it is a larger sample and is available on an annual basis.
In the March CPS, the health insurance questions determine whether an individual has had coverage from various sources at any time during the previous year. In addition, the March survey has included firm size information since 1988, permitting estimates of insurance coverage by firm size and employment status over an extended period. The March survey also contains demographic information such as age, gender, race, marital status, education, and family structure. Economic and labor force data include industry, occupation, class of worker, work experience, and income.
The study examined the sources of health insurance coverage, including direct employer-provided coverage, coverage by a family member's employer, and non-employer coverage. The study analyzed the size of firm from which individuals received indirect coverage, that is, coverage from a family member's employer.
Part II focuses on an analysis of data from the April 1993 CPS Employee Benefits Supplement (EBS), compared with earlier analyses and tabulations of health insurance and pension data from the May CPS for 1979, 1983 and 1988. The data permit analysis by firm size (for employed persons only) of health insurance availability, eligibility and coverage, as well as pension availability and coverage.
- In 1993 the likelihood of an employer offering a pension plan or health insurance as a fringe benefit generally was a positive function of firm size. This was also the case in the three earlier years for which comparable data are available--1979, 1983 and 1988.
- There is a general tendency for wage-and-salary workers to receive more fringe benefits than self-employed workers.
- Part-time, part-year, and low-wage workers tend to receive fewer benefits than full-time, full-year, and high-wage workers.
According to Part II of the study, the likelihood that an employer will offer a pension plan or health insurance as a fringe benefit increases with firm size. There is also a general tendency for wage-and-salary workers to receive more fringe benefits than the self-employed.
The complete report is available from:
National Technical Information Service
U.S. Department of Commerce
5285 Port Royal Road
Springfield, VA 22161
(703) 487-4639 (TDD)
Order Number: PB95-239703
Cost: A04/$19.50; A01/$9.00 Microf.
*Last Modified 6-11-01