More than 16% of adult workers stay in jobs they might otherwise leave because they fear they’ll lose their health benefits, according to a new survey released Thursday.
The survey, conducted by West Health and Gallup, found the fear is even more pronounced among Black workers and those making less than $48,000 a year.
The survey found 16% of U.S. adult workers have stayed at their jobs because they don’t want to lose employer-sponsored health insurance.
Black workers were 50% more likely to find themselves in this situation, with the survey finding 21% of Black adults are in a job they want to ditch but stick it out for fear of losing its health insurance benefits; 14% of white adults and 16% of Hispanic workers said the same.
Annual household income was another factor that kept adults sticking it out at jobs for the health benefits, the survey found, with 28% of adults pulling in less than $48,000 a year among the most likely to stay in an unwanted job. Just 10% of adults with an annual household income of more than $180,000 said the same.
The survey also found that:
— 53% are either "concerned" or "very concerned" the cost of healthcare services will keep rising to the point where they won’t be able to afford them; 52% have the same worry about the cost of prescription drugs.
— 42% say they’re concerned they would not be able to pay for a major health event, including 49% of Hispanic adults and 47% of Black adults — compared with 25% who are concerned about losing their home, and 29% of workers worried about losing their jobs.
— 77% favor the federal government setting limits on prescription drug price increases; 76% favor capping prices for hospitals in markets with limited or no competition; 65% favor establishing limits on prices charged by out-of-network care.
— 16% of workers who are staying in their jobs for the sake of their benefits that frequently extend to other individuals other than themselves are reluctant to look for other work.
The survey was conducted online with 3,870 adults across the country by the Gallup Panel, a probability-based, non-opt-in panel of about 120,000 adults nationwide. There was no margin of error reported for the survey.
According to Gallup, the average insurance premium for a family of four has increased 22% in the last five years, and in 2020, premiums increased more than wages.
In May 2020, the Kaiser Family Foundation released a study estimating about 27 million people could lose their employer-sponsored health insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic because of job losses.
“The generally high agreement with several proposals for government action designed to contain the cost of various forms of care is understandable, particularly so as those with insurance are voicing support at levels that match those without it,” said Gallup pollster Dan Witters wrote.
The sentiment could bolster the Biden administration politically as it prepares to release a number of health policies intended to strengthen the Affordable Care Act, expand Medicaid, and allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, Witter added.
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