Achieving Universal Participation in Social Insurance Systems

By: By Paul N. Van de Water
Published: March 2008

Health and Income Security Brief No. 11 ~ March 2008

Summary: Social insurance protects families against common risks to their economic security, such as the loss of earnings and the cost of health care. To share these risks as widely as possible, social insurance programs aim to be universal in their coverage. Approaches to achieve broad coverage include tax-financed public programs, subsidized voluntary programs, requirements for employers to provide for their employees, and requirements for individuals to obtain insurance. This issue brief summarizes these approaches. An appendix considers the role that an individual mandate might play in expanding health insurance coverage.