Recent college graduates now value employer-sponsored health insurance more than any other factor when they are looking for a job.

Marketers at eHealthInsurance, a unit of eHealth Inc., Mountain View, Calif. (Nasdaq: EHTH) have published that finding in a summary from a recent survey of 255 full-time college students, 251 recent college graduates and 500 parents of full-time college students or recent graduates.

About 97% of the recent grads agreed that having health insurance is extremely or somewhat important. When pollsters asked recent grads to name a benefit that would be non-negotiable when the grads were evaluating potential jobs, 39% cited health insurance. Only 19% cited the second most popular choice — the location of the office.

About 57% said they think it is worth taking a job that they do not necessarily like to get employer-sponsored benefits such as health insurance and retirement savings accounts.

Only 31% of the recent grads now in the workplace actually have employment-based health coverage.

- Michael K. Stanley

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