Taxing Questions on Employer-Based Health Insurance

Policy forum on the future of employment-based health insurance

In 1999, the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) sponsored a conference to examine:

  • The link between health insurance and employment.
  • How various policy options, if enacted, may put that link at risk.
  • What the implications of those policies may be for workers, employers and the government.

The conference opened with the results of a survey conducted by institute staff, on public attitudes towards the employment-based health insurance system.

The institute, based in Washington, is a nonprofit organization committed to public policy research and education on employee benefits.

Key Results and Findings

  • The "Policy Forum on the Future of Employment-Based Health Insurance," which took place on May 5, 1999 in Washington, drew over 100 employers, congressional and executive branch staff, benefits experts, and representatives from academia, interest groups and labor. The forum featured six panels on:
    • Tax credits.
    • Approaches to creating an alternative to the employment-based health insurance system.
    • Current legislation that would allow workers to opt out of employment-based health plans.
    • Intergenerational warfare.
    • Employer's opinions.
    • Social welfare implications.
  • The survey conducted before the conference showed that most people are satisfied with the current mix of benefits and wages and are confident in their employers' ability to choose a health plan.
  • The institute published a book containing the proceedings from the forum, Severing the Link Between Health Insurance and Employment.


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) supported this project through a grant of $78,645.