Making Health Reform More Affordable for Working Families

Many low-income workers would be prevented from accessing subsidies under current health reform proposals if they are offered employer-sponsored health insurance (ESI). Thus, some low-income families would not benefit from the reforms as much as others.

A new report from Urban Institute authors Matthew Buettgens and Linda Blumberg examines the effectiveness of various employee choice voucher options in making health care more affordable for such families. Findings show:

  • Employee choice vouchers would make health coverage dramatically more affordable for the low-income families who take advantage of them and would increase insurance coverage very modestly;
  • Vouchers would not significantly change government or employer spending;
  • Even under an expanded voucher program, the change in employer spending would be less than 1 percent;
  • Voucher programs would have little effect on ESI premiums, but would modestly reduce the number of people covered by ESI. Neither of the voucher programs considered would threaten the integrity of the ESI market.