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Employer-provided health coverage declining for college grads in entry-level jobs

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Snapshot for July 18, 2007.

Employer-provided health coverage declining for college grads in entry-level jobs

by Liana Fox and Elise Gould 

A college degree is no guarantee of receiving health insurance on the job. Over the recent recession and recovery, college graduates in entry-level jobs (defined as employed college graduates between 23 and 27 years old) have become increasingly less likely to receive employer-provided health insurance coverage.1 The Chart below illustrates the recent trends in employer-provided health insurance for this group. Their incidence of employment-based insurance has fallen roughly nine percentage points from 1999-2000 to 2004-05, from 69.6% to 60.5%.

Employer-provided health insurance for recent college graduates (23-27 years old)

This recent sharp decline was preceded by a rise in coverage in the late 1990s due to a tight labor market for college grads in entry-level jobs. However, employment-based health coverage for these recent college graduates has been falling since 1983-84, when it was at a high of 80.0%. Therefore, entry-level college grads are one-quarter less likely to have employer-provided health insurance than they were over 20 years ago.

1. Based on tabulations of March CPS data samples of private wage and salary earners ages 23-27 with a substantial labor force attachment, defined as working at least 20 hours per week and 26 weeks per year. Coverage is defined as being included in an employer-provided plan where the employer paid for at least some of the coverage.

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