Bargaining Health Benefits in the Workplace: An Inside View

Before contract negotiations in 1999, the author served on an “issue-based” health benefits committee of faculty union representatives and university administrators. Although the committee solicited estimates from health insurers regarding the impact of higher copayments on monthly premiums, in subsequent negotiations, the projected cost savings did not lead to changes in coverage or copayments. The explanations offered are (1) national or regional employers may be reluctant to raise employees’ health benefit copayments when labor markets are tight; (2) collective bargaining, particularly when other, nonmonetary issues are being bargained, may lead to results different from those from a strictly competitive model; and (3) employers with market power in the product market may shift these higher costs to consumers through higher prices.

Author(s): C. Montagne

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Volume 80, Issue 3 (pages 547–567)
DOI: 10.1111/1468-0009.00022
Published in 2002