Workers without Benefits Also Paid Less

October 1, 2008 ( - Workers with access to health benefits on average receive more than double the compensation of workers without access to health benefits, according to a new research study.

A news release said two reports done as part of Kaiser Family Foundation’s (KFF) Snapshots: Health Care Costs series reported the average compensation difference was $30.01 hourly for those with health benefits access versus $12.43 hourly for those without.

“The studies underscore the difficulties low-wage firms and low-wage workers face affording health insurance coverage,” Kaiser said in the news announcement. “Together, they suggest firms that currently do not offer health benefits differ substantially in important ways from similar firms that offer such benefits and that these differences may contribute to their lower levels of worker compensation across the board.”

According to the report, the gap has been widening over time and holds even for firms of different sizes and ranges of occupations. For example, a clerical/administrative employee in 2005 who had access to health benefits had average hourly payroll compensation of $17.13 versus an average hourly compensation of $11.95 for an employee in the same occupation without access to health benefits.

A second analysis, Health Benefit Offer Rates and Employee Earnings, finds that across all establishment sizes, businesses with higher-wage workers are more likely to offer health benefits than establishments with lower-wage employees.

In general, even small establishments, for instance those with less than 50 workers, are likely to offer health benefits if there is a comparably large share of high-wage workers.

Both reports are based on an analysis of data from the National Compensation Survey, conducted quarterly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

These analyses were conducted by Kaiser Family Foundation staff, as part of the online series, Snapshots: Health Care Costs, which use charts, data and analysis to look at issues affecting the cost of health care in the United States.

The reports are available at .