April 14, 2005

Unemployment Insurance Recipients More Likely to Have Health Benefits in Next Job

For Immediate Release: Thursday, April 14, 2005

Contact: Patrick McElwee, 202-293-5380 x110 or Megan Quirk, x113

Unemployment insurance (UI) provides a basic safety net for workers who suffer periods of involuntary job loss and buys time for workers to find a good job fit. In Finding the Better Fit, a report released today by the Center for Economic and Policy Research and the Economic Policy Institute, co-authors Heather Boushey and Jeffrey Wenger are the first to examine whether workers who receive unemployment insurance increase their likelihood of employer-sponsored health insurance in their new job. The findings prove that in general, receiving UI benefits increases the likelihood of being hired into a job that provides employer-sponsored health insurance (ESI) by 5.7 percent for men and 5.6 percent for women.

"This is an important added benefit from unemployment insurance, since most families get their health insurance through their employer," said co-author Jeffrey Wenger, assistant professor at the University of Georgia.

The report shows other influences that also increase the likelihood of getting a new job with employer-sponsored health insurance. Being a member of a union raises the chances of getting a job with health insurance benefits by about 12.5 percent for both men and women. And, as the level of education increases, so does the probability of reemployment with health insurance benefits.

"This new finding, combined with the obvious benefits of UI, like maintaining basic necessities and preserving savings, makes this safety net program a positive influence on the economy," said co-author Heather Boushey, economist at the Center for Economic Policy Research.

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