Paid Sick Days and Health: Cost Savings from Reduced Emergency Department Visits finds that universal access to paid sick days would save $1 billion annually. Currently, the United States spends approximately $47 billion annually on emergency department services and 44 million Americans lack access to paid sick days.
Cost savings would be realized by shifting the treatment of some preventable illnesses from emergency departments to less expensive doctor's offices, clinics, and hospital outpatient settings. Currently, approximately $500 million of these preventable costs are covered by taxpayer-funded public health care for children, elders, veterans and low-income families, including Medicare, Medicaid, the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), and Veterans Affairs services. The remainder of preventable emergency department costs are accrued to individuals who pay out of pocket for health care and to insurance companies and their customers.
After controlling for various characteristics, including health insurance status, IWPR's analyses reveal that paid sick days are associated with better self-reported health, fewer delays in medical care, and fewer emergency department visits for adults and their children.