Job Lock: Hanging on for Health Care

Survey: Many would quit to do something “more personal or meaningful”

St. Paul, MN, July 15 – The Congressional Budget Office estimates that, because of the Affordable Care Act, workers may “choose to supply less labor” equivalent to two million full-time jobs, between 2017 and 2024. [ see Congressional Budget Office, “Labor Market Effects of the Affordable Care Act: Updated Estimates,” February 2014.] This prompts the question: How many workers see themselves as “job locked” – reluctant to change jobs for fear of losing health insurance?

In April, Securian Financial Group conducted a survey of 767 Americans employed full- (94 percent) or part-time (6 percent) with health insurance as an employee benefit. The survey shows that 40 percent of them appear to be experiencing job lock: They would leave their jobs if they could buy health insurance on the open market that is comparable to the out-of-pocket cost and coverage they currently have through their employers.

The job is okay, but …

“Job lock: Hanging on for health insurance,” summarizes results of the survey. A large majority of all respondents (91 percent) say they like the work they do in their current jobs. Another big group (83 percent) is satisfied or somewhat satisfied with their current health insurance.

But many of them dream about doing something else.

“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,” said Michelle Hall, manager, Market Research, Securian Financial Group. “Of that group, more than two-fifths (43 percent) say they would start their own businesses.” Another 16 percent who have considered quitting say they would work in a field they prefer where jobs typically provide little or no health insurance, she added.

Declined job offers

They would leave their jobs if they could buy health insurance on the open market that is comparable to the out-of-pocket cost and coverage they currently have through their employers

Forty-three percent of those who took the Securian survey say they’ve turned down job offers because the health insurance benefit didn’t meet their needs. Almost half of married respondents (46 percent) refused job offers due to unacceptable health insurance coverage, compared to about one-third (34 percent) of the single people who took the survey. The most-cited reasons were high cost and inadequate coverage.

Download “Job lock: Hanging on for health insurance” for more survey results.


  • 94 percent of respondents have full-time jobs
  • More than half (55 percent) hold managerial or professional positions
  • 50 percent report annual household incomes of $50,000 – $99,999 and 23 percent report $100,000 and higher.

See Securian’s previous consumer surveys in the Research section at





About Securian Financial Group
Since 1880, Securian Financial Group and its affiliates have provided financial security for individuals and businesses in the form of insurance, investments and retirement plans. Now one of the nation’s largest life insurance groups, it is the holding company parent of several companies.

Insurance products are issued by Minnesota Life Insurance Company in all states except New York where products are issued by Securian Life Insurance Company, a New York authorized insurer. Both companies are headquartered in Saint Paul, MN and each insurer is solely responsible for the financial obligations under the policies and contracts it issues. Product availability and features may vary by state.