May 2018

How much does health insurance cost? Comparison of premiums in administrative and survey data

Jeff Larrimore and David Splinter


Using newly available administrative data from the Internal Revenue Service, this paper studies the distribution of employer-sponsored health insurance premiums. Previous estimates, in contrast, were almost exclusively from household surveys. After correcting for coverage limitations of the IRS data, we find that average premiums for employer-sponsored plans are roughly $1000 higher in IRS records than in the Current Population Survey. The downward bias in the CPS is largely driven by underestimating of premiums among married workers and topcoding of high premiums.
Accessible materials (.zip)

Keywords: CPS, Employer Sponsored Health Insurance, IRS data, Topcoding


PDF: Full Paper

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Last Update: January 09, 2020