January 08, 2010
Take-up rates for employer-provided medical plans are higher among State and local government workers than among private industry workers in each of the five selected occupational categories shown in the chart.
This difference may be due in part to the higher share of premium costs that State and local government employers paid for workers in each of the five occupational categories.
There is a notable difference in medical plan take-up rates for service occupations--85 percent in State and local government and 63 percent in private industry. This may be due to the fact that State and local governments employ a wide variety of relatively high-paid service workers, such as police officers and firefighters, while service occupations in private industry are heavily represented with relatively low-paid janitors and restaurant food-service workers.
There are also notable differences in take-up rates between the two sectors in sales and office occupations--84 percent in State and local government and 70 percent in private industry. This may be because a large portion of private industry sales workers are cashiers, who typically earn relatively low wages and have less access to employer-sponsored benefits.
Within State and local government, 88 percent of natural resource, construction, and maintenance workers who have access to a medical plan participate in it, a higher take-up rate than the 80-percent rate among workers in those occupations in private industry.
These data are from the National Compensation Survey. Take-up rate is a more narrowly defined measure than participation rate, which refers to the percentage of all workers covered by a benefit plan. Take-up rate refers to the percent of workers with access to a plan who actually "take up" the plan or participate in it. To learn more, see "Comparison of Take-up Rates in Employer-Provided Medical Care Plans: State and Local Government and Private Industry", December 2009.