Only 41% of workers earning less than $10 per hour had employer-sponsored health coverage, making them more vulnerable to medical, access and financial problems than their higher-paid counterparts, according to a survey of more than 4,000 working-age adults by the Commonwealth Fund. By comparison, 72% of workers earning $10 to $15 per hour and 88% of those earning more than $15 per hour had insurance. In addition, only 34% of the lowest-wage workers received any paid sick leave, compared with 65% of the highest-wage workers. Among other results: 42% of the lowest-wage workers were likely to forgo needed care; 36% were in fair or poor health or had a chronic medical condition; and 50% had medical debt problems. Among the highest-wage workers, the percentages were 20%, 24% and 25%, respectively. "We often focus on the cost of providing affordable health insurance coverage and ensuring access to healthcare for workers and families, but rarely consider the price of failing to help workers stay healthy and productive," Commonwealth Fund President Karen Davis said in a news release. Download the issue brief. -- by Laura B. Benko
Majority of low-wage workers lack coverage: study
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