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J Occup Environ Med. 2006 Jan;48(1):13-21.

Effect of health insurance on workplace absenteeism in the U.S. workforce.

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Department of Health Policy, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA.



The objectives of this study were to examine the relationship between health insurance (HI) and number of missed workdays (MW), and how it is modified by level of access to care (AC) and healthcare use (HC).


The authors conducted a retrospective study of 1996-1999 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey of U.S. employees.


Of 25,676 individuals, 13,957 (54%) reported MW (mean [standard deviation] = 4.3 [0.092]). Having HI was significantly associated with decreased likelihood of MW. Higher level of AC was significantly associated with greater number of MW. HC was significantly associated with increased likelihood of and greater number of MW.


Having HI any time over the year is significantly associated with decreased likelihood of and smaller number of MW. HC use is an important explanatory variable and appears to be a confounder between HI and MW. The benefits to employers of ensuring that employees have health coverage should be explored.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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