The State Children's Health Insurance Program and Job Mobility: Identifying Job Lock among Working Parents in Near-Poor Households
To assess whether near-poor parents’ job mobility is reduced due to the non-portability of employer-provided health insurance—an effect termed job lock—the authors examine data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation for 1996 and 2001, years bracketing the introduction of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). Among the working fathers whose children met the SCHIP eligibility criteria, those whose wives did not have their own employer-provided insurance were 5–6% more likely to separate from their current employer in the year of the later survey than in the year of the earlier survey, whereas those whose wives were insured exhibited no comparable change in mobility. These results confirm the presence of job lock: for men whose wives were uninsured, but not for those whose wives were insured, the authors argue, the SCHIP program presented a new opportunity to switch jobs without losing health insurance.
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