Sep 5, 2018 - Economy

How health insurance contributes to income inequality

Data: Council for Affordable Health Coverage; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

As workers' overall compensation has risen since 1980, health benefits have taken up a big piece of the pie for lower- and middle-income workers. Wealthier workers, meanwhile, have seen bigger gains in their paychecks, according to a report by the Council for Affordable Health Coverage.

Between the lines: The study found that the bottom 60% of hypothetical two-earner households would have seen their net earnings decline between 1999 and 2015 after paying their own share of rising health premiums. The same is true for the bottom 40% of single earners.

Why it matters: Health care coverage is compensation that workers don't get in the form of wages. The employer insurance system tends to mask the cost of health insurance, but this report highlights how workers still pay for it indirectly — and how this contributes to the growing gap between the rich and the poor.

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