Survey Shows Employees Value Health Insurance More Than Higher Salaries

Posted on Monday, July 01, 2019

A national survey by Stony Brook University indicates that more Americans would prefer less pay as long as they get health coverage.

The survey, The Health Pulse of America, underscores how important medical benefits are when a person chooses a job. In telephone interviews with about 800 adults, researchers found that the benefits employees value most are:

Comprehensive medical coverage.
More paid vacation time.

Looking to the Future

Half (50 percent) of Americans say they are extremely or very satisfied with health care quality. But far fewer say they are satisfied with the cost of health insurance, according to the the most recent Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI).  

About 38 percent of employees surveyed say they are confident that their health care coverage will continue, about the same as the prior year. (Source: 2015 Employee Benefit Research Institute Survey.) 

Here are some of the results of the survey, conducted by Stony Brook's Center for Survey Research:

Employees would take a lower salaried job with benefits (71 percent).
Employees would take a higher paying job with no coverage (24 percent).
Good health care benefits are very important (73 percent).
A higher salary is very important (37 percent).
Good retirement benefits are very important (66 percent).
Job security is very important (71 percent). 

Respondents overwhelmingly indicated that they are stressed at work, with more than 40 percent saying they believe increased paid vacation time would improve Americans' health. This perception is common among people with and without jobs. It is particularly pronounced among people aged 49 and younger.

Although many employees worry about the future of their health care plans, most indicated they are "generally satisfied" with their current health coverage and other benefits. In fact, about 60 percent of those who have employer-provided coverage said that they would prefer a raise over improved health care coverage in the next year.

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