Tax subsidies for private health insurance: Who benefits and at what cost?

Publication Date: August 2009

Publisher: Tax Policy Center

Author(s): Leonard E. Burman; Sarah Goodell; Surachai Khitatrakun

Research Area: Banking and finance

Keywords: Health Insurance; Federal Budgets & Fiscal Policy; Income and Wealth Distribution; Tax Distribution and Economic Trends

Type: Paper


Policymakers are considering modifications to the tax treatment of employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) as a way to raise revenue to help pay for health reform and provide incentives to reduce health care costs. Understanding how current subsidies work is important to assessing health reform proposals. This brief presents essential information about the structure and distribution of existing tax subsidies for ESI and the implications for policy options.