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October 23, 2003
Workers Prefer Pay Freeze over Health Insurance Cuts

Many more American workers with employer-provided health insurance are unhappy with changes to their health insurance than are unhappy with changes to their salary or retirement benefits, according to a new Harris Interactive poll conducted for the Wall Street Journal.

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The survey found:

  • Only 17 percent said that their health insurance has been getting better, whereas 24 percent said that retirement benefits were getting better and 53 percent said their salary has improved. Significantly, three times as many said that their salary has improved compared with their health insurance.
  • Fully 42 percent of insured employees said that their health insurance has been getting worse compared to only 17 percent and 24 percent who felt this way about their pay and retirement benefits.

While most respondents (66 percent) said a decent pay raise is more important than maintaining or improving healthcare benefits next year, if faced with a choice, a 56 percent majority favored having no pay increase but retaining current health insurance benefits over getting a decent pay increase and having a significant reduction in their health insurance benefits.

Fewer younger workers would make the same choice. Fully 45 percent of workers aged 25 to 29 said they would choose the pay increase.

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