The purpose of this project is to enhance the feasibility of creating affordable employee benefit packages that improve health by ascertaining the priorities of low income employees regarding benefits that ameliorate the socio-economic determinants of health. Four hundred and eight male and female low-income individuals recruited from clinical, community, and employment settings participated in small group exercises. During these exercises, facilitated discussions took place using a decision tool called REACH (Reaching Economic Alternatives that Contribute to Health) which is based on a previously developed decision tool (CHAT: Choosing Healthplans All Together). Data were anonymously collected regarding socio-demographic characteristics, attitudes toward health, preferences for possible employee benefits, and assessment of the exercise. Group discussions were audiotaped. Data were analyzed quantitatively to determine preferences for benefits and factors associated with these preferences. Discussions were qualitatively analyzed to explore underlying reasons for these preferences. Participants received $75 as compensation for their participation unless they participate during working hours. Study results yielded information about what employee benefits would be of utmost priority to low income employees. This is unique information that may contribute to efforts to find affordable strategies for ameliorating the socio-economic determinants of health for the low-income working population in the United States. ? One publication reporting the employment benefit preferences of low income employees has been published, two other manuscripts have been submitted, and one is in preparation.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Clinical Center (CLC)
Intramural Research (Z01)
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Danis, Marion; Lovett, Francis; Sabik, Lindsay et al. (2007) Low-income employees'choices regarding employment benefits aimed at improving the socioeconomic determinants of health. Am J Public Health 97:1650-7