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40 Percent of American Workers Would Quit, If Not for Health Insurance

On dark days, when your job gets you down, what stops you from handing in your letter of resignation? For 40 percent of workers, a recent study finds, it's health insurance -- specifically, health insurance that doesn't cost more or provide less than the plan they have through their employers.

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(Photo Credit: 401(k) 2013/Flickr)

Earlier this year, the Securian Financial Group conducted a survey of 767 Americans who had employer-sponsored health insurance. Forty percent said they'd leave their jobs, if they could get health insurance that compared with what they get through their employer.

Interestingly, these potential job quitters weren't thinking of bailing because they hated their jobs. Ninety-one said they enjoyed their work. The inspiration for moving on seemed largely to be an urge to strike out on their own, not to move to another company.

"More than half (56 percent) say they have considered leaving their jobs to do something more personal or meaningful but didn't because they need the health insurance they currently purchase in the work place," says Michelle Hall, market research manager of Securian Financial Group. "Of that group, more than two-fifths (43 percent) say they would start their own businesses."

Other highlights of the study:

  • 16 percent would consider quitting for inferior insurance, or none at all.
  • 43 percent have turned down job offers because of the cost or quality of the insurance coverage offered.
  • Married workers were more likely to turn down offers based on insurance; 46 percent of married respondents reported doing so, compared to 34 percent of single respondents.

These findings recall a 2014 report on the effects of the Affordable Care Act from the Congressional Budget Office, which forecasted the effect of a reduction of 2 million full-time jobs by 2017. In other words, if workers can get cheap, reliable healthcare without relying on their employer, they're more likely to quit their full-time jobs and start their own businesses, retire, or work part-time.

Only time will tell if the insurance plans offered under the ACA will be tempting enough to convince workers to cut the cord and go out on their own.

Tell Us What You Think

Would you quit your job, if insurance weren't an issue? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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