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Prior to World War 2, few Americans had health insurance. For those that did, the majority of policies only offered limited cover for hospital rooms, board and ancillary services. When the National War Labor Board froze wages and post-war shortages in the workforce were prevalent, employers needed to find new ways to attract scarce resources.
Offering health insurance was one of them. And this was an attractive way to tempt employees because they had the support of unions and they were tax-free. And this set the trend for Americans to take their life and health insurances through services offered by employers, who in turn were the customers of brokers representing the insurance carriers.