The Self-Employed are Less Likely to Have Health Insurance than Wage Earners. So What?

54 Pages Posted: 31 May 2001 Last revised: 22 Oct 2010

See all articles by Craig William Perry

Craig William Perry

Princeton University

Harvey S. Rosen

Princeton University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Date Written: June 2001

Abstract

There is considerable public policy concern over the relatively low rates of health insurance coverage among the self-employed in the United States. Presumably, the reason for the concern is that their low rates of insurance lead to worse health outcomes. We use data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey conducted in 1996 to analyze how the self-employed and wage-earners differ with respect to insurance coverage and health status. Using a variety of ways to measure health status, we find that the relative lack of health insurance among the self-employed does not affect their health. For virtually every subjective and objective measure of health status, the self-employed and wage earners are statistically indistinguishable from each other. Further, we present some evidence that this phenomenon is not due to the fact that individuals who select into self-employment are healthier than wage-earners, ceteris paribus. Thus, the public policy concern with the relative lack of health insurance among the self-employed may be somewhat misplaced.

Suggested Citation

Perry, Craig William and Rosen, Harvey S., The Self-Employed are Less Likely to Have Health Insurance than Wage Earners. So What? (June 2001). NBER Working Paper No. w8316, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=271828

Craig William Perry (Contact Author)

Princeton University ( email )

22 Chambers Street
Princeton, NJ 08544-0708
United States

Harvey S. Rosen

Princeton University - Department of Economics ( email )

001 Fisher Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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