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Many Childhood Cancer Survivors Stay at Jobs for Health Insurance

A national survey from Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah shows that childhood cancer survivors are more likely to make career decisions based on fear of losing their health insurance. The survey included 394 pediatric cancer survivors and 128 of their siblings who never had cancer.
childhood cancer survivors
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Twenty-three percent of the cancer survivors surveyed reported “job lock,” i.e. staying at their job in order to keep their employer-sponsored insurance, compared to under 17 percent of their siblings.

Anne Kirchhoff, PhD, the assistant professor of pediatrics who led the study, tells Science Daily:

Even with protections and expansions of insurance coverage in the U.S., this study proves there is still quite a bit of worry about insurance and it’s affecting how people make decisions from a job standpoint. Employer-based insurance coverage is the most common way people get insurance in the U.S. If someone gets stuck in a certain job because they want to keep their insurance coverage, that could really affect their earning power across a lifetime. It could potentially stymie their ability to start a new company or take on a job that would allow them to have more career or income growth, all because of health insurance worries.

Kirchhoff says that survivors understand the importance of being able to access healthcare, and that many may also be influenced by remembering the financial stress their parents suffered during their treatment.

23 percent of childhood cancer survivors report staying at their jobs for the insurance, compared to 17 percent of their siblings.Click To Tweet

Why Job Lock Matters

Job hoppers get a bad rap. But, with raises at most employers hovering around 3 percent, employees who want a big pay increase are often better off changing jobs. In fact, the single best time for workers to increase earnings is when they take a new job.

And there’s a sweet spot for changing jobs: between two and five years, according to analysis from payroll processor ADP.

“The longer you stay past five years, the less growth you’ll see in pay at your next employer,” writes Oliver Staley at Quartz.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Tell Us What You Think

Do you stay at your job because of the insurance? We want to hear from you. Tell us your story in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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