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Employer Provided Health Insurance: What can be learned from the Form 5500?

Publication Date
Dec 31, 2005

This report provides a technical assessment of the utility of data from the Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration, specifically the form 5500 data, to examine the receipt of employer provided health care when merged with data from the Census Bureau's Longitudinal Employer Household Dynamics data program. The report finds that while the data are not well-suited to examine the proportion of workers receiving health care or the proportion of firms offering health care, they can contribute significantly to our understanding of the types of firms that offer health plans, as well as how offers and cost-sharing changes over time within specific firms.

The full report is currently only available in PDF format.
This document reports the results of research and analysis undertaken by three authors while they were working at the U.S. Census Bureau. It has undergone a Census Bureau review more limited in scope than that given to official Census Bureau publications. This document is released to inform interested parties of ongoing research and to encourage discussion of work in progress. The views expressed herein are attributable only to the authors and do not represent the views of the Census Bureau, the Office of Policy and Research (OPR) at the Department of Labor, its program sponsors or data providers. This research uses confidential data from the Census Bureau's Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Program (LEHD), which is partially supported by the National Science Foundation Grant SES-9978093 to Cornell University (Cornell Institute for Social and Economic Research), the National Institute on Aging, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Integration of the Form 5500 pension data has received support from the Office of Policy and Research at the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) of the Department of Labor. The Census Bureau is preparing to support external researchers' use of these data; please consult


The authors wish to acknowledge the substantial contributions of LEHD Staff, in particular Kristin Sandusky, Martha Stinson, and wish to thank John Abowd, former Office of Policy and Research employee Dan Beller, Kristin McCue, as well as David McCarthy and Elaine Zimmermann of the Office of Policy and Research (Department of Labor) for their comments.

Low-Income Populations