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Lower-wage workers less likely than other workers to have medical care benefits in 2019

March 03, 2020

Twenty-four percent of private industry workers in the lowest 10 percent wage category had access to employer-sponsored medical plans in March 2019, while 94 percent of workers with an average wage in the highest 10 percent had access to such plans. As average wages move from the lowest 25 percent of wage earners to the second-lowest 25 percent, access rates rose from 36 percent to 70 percent.

Private industry access to medical care benefits and participation rate by wage category, March 2019
Wage category Access Participation

Lowest 10 percent

24% 13%

Lowest 25 percent

36 21

Second 25 percent

70 48

Third 25 percent

86 65

Highest 25 percent

91 70

Highest 10 percent

94 72

Participation rates, or the percentage of all workers who participate in a plan, also increase as wages go up. Among workers with an average wage in the lowest 10 percent wage category, only 13 percent participated in employer-sponsored medical plans in March 2019. Meanwhile, 72 percent of workers with an average wage in the highest 10 percent participated in these plans.

These data are from the National Compensation Survey — Benefits program. For more information about employee benefits, see “Employee Benefits in the United States, March 2019” and our glossary of employee benefit terms.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Lower-wage workers less likely than other workers to have medical care benefits in 2019 on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2020/lower-wage-workers-less-likely-than-other-workers-to-have-medical-care-benefits-in-2019.htm (visited August 05, 2020).

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