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Workers in high-risk industries less likely to have employer-provided health insurance: study

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New York — Employees in fields with higher workplace injury rates are generally less likely to be covered by employer-provided health insurance plans, results of a recent survey show.

Using data from the 2020 Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses and the March 2021 Current Population Survey, researchers at personal finance company ValuePenguin estimated the rate of employer-based health insurance coverage per workplace injury that resulted in time away from work.

Overall, more than 440,000 injured workers weren’t covered by an employer-provided health plan, representing more than a third of all injured workers. Employees who had to take time off because of a work-related injury were 7.8% less likely to be covered by an employer-provided plan.


The five occupations with the highest injury rates were farming, fishing and forestry; health care support; health care practitioners and technical; transportation and material moving; and building and grounds cleaning and maintenance. On average, 44.7% of workers in those industries weren’t covered by an employer-based health insurance plan after being injured.

That contrasts with an average of 16.2% for workers in the five occupations with the lowest rate of injuries: architecture and engineering, business and financial operations, educational instruction and library, computer and mathematical, and legal.

ValuePenguin staff writer Maggie Davis point outs, however, that not having employer-based insurance doesn’t necessarily mean a worker wasn’t covered by health insurance. “Overall, 85.8% of injured employees had health insurance in 2020 – leaving 14.2% without it,” Davis said. “That puts the number of workplace injuries not covered by any health insurance at more than 166,000.”

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