job lock
n. The fear of leaving a job because it might mean losing or reducing health care benefits.
There's no shortage of sad stories about health insurance. But for pure frustration, nothing beats job lock: being frozen in a job you hate because leaving it means losing key health benefits. You're stuck because you have a bad knee, your daughter has diabetes or your wife has emphysema. No new insurer wants your family unless it can draw a big red circle around your maladies and refuse to cover everything inside.
—Ellyn E. Spragins, “How to Beat Job Lock,” Newsweek, December 14, 1998
Deborah Chollet, vice president of the Alpha Center, a Washington health research organization, said 1996 legislation designed to end the problem of employees refusing new jobs for fear of losing health insurance — commonly known as "job lock" — was vastly oversold.
—John A. MacDonald, “Health care troubles remain unhealed,” Hartford Courant, November 21, 1998
1989 (earliest)
Employed survivors often complain of "job lock," the feeling that they have to stay put because they will be unable to get health insurance with their next employer. Both getting and keeping health insurance is a real concern for cancer survivors. After reviewing studies in the early 1980s, the California division of the American Cancer Society estimated that as many as 25 percent of cancer survivors will subsequently run into health-insurance problems.
—Joanne Silberner, “First, you beat the cancer,” U.S. News & World Report, November 06, 1989
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