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Journal Article

Family, Work, and Access to Health Insurance Among Mature Women

Madonna Harrington Meyer and Eliza K. Pavalko
Journal of Health and Social Behavior
Vol. 37, No. 4 (Dec., 1996), pp. 311-325
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2137259
Page Count: 15
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Family, Work, and Access to Health Insurance Among Mature Women
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Abstract

We use a life course approach to address much ignored variation in access to health insurance. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Mature Women, we reinterpret the role of both family and employment characteristics in shaping coverage. Mature women are more likely to be insured as wives than as workers, but that safety net is only available to married women. As a result, unmarried women are two to three times as likely to be uninsured or to rely on public programs such as Medicaid. And because they are significantly less likely to be married to a covered worker, Black women are two to three times more likely to be uninsured or to rely on public programs. Given rising instability in employment and marital status across the life course, stable health insurance coverage can only be attained by universal rather than employment-based or family-based schemes.

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