One aspect of the continuing debate in the U.S. regarding health insurance that has received little attention, to date, is the impact of health insurance coverage on employees, notably with regard to individual employees’ attitudes, behavior, and performance. Although the debate was not over when this report was published in January 2011, in 2010 the U.S. passed legislation that extends or requires health insurance coverage for employees, depending on an employer’s specific situation. This report incorporates the findings of two studies that touch on these considerations. In these studies we used samples comprising healthcare and senior-services customer-contact employees who had worked for at least six months at one of sixteen facilities operated by Berkshire Healthcare. In Study A, within a sample of 591 employees, we found that health insurance coverage had no significant impact on individual employees’ job anxiety or withdrawal behaviors. However, health insurance coverage did have a significant, positive impact on individual employees’ task performance. In Study B we compared the impact of health insurance that included mental illness coverage and health insurance that did not include mental illness coverage on individual employees’ job anxiety, withdrawal behaviors, and task performance. Study B showed a puzzling result; specifically, that individual employees with health insurance that included mental illness coverage had significantly higher company-documented tardiness for the six-month period preceding the study than those with health insurance that did not include mental illness coverage.
Way, S., Carroll, B., Susskind, A. M., & Leng, J. C. Y. (2011). The impact of health insurance on employee job anxiety, withdrawal behaviors, and task performance [Electronic article]. Cornell Hospitality Report, 11(1), 6-17.