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Does retiree health insurance encourage early retirement?

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  • Nyce, Steven
  • Schieber, Sylvester J.
  • Shoven, John B.
  • Slavov, Sita Nataraj
  • Wise, David A.

Abstract

The strong link between health insurance and employment in the United States may cause workers to delay retirement until they become eligible for Medicare at age 65. However, some employers extend health insurance benefits to their retirees, and individuals who are eligible for such retiree health benefits need not wait until age 65 to retire with group health coverage. We investigate the impact of retiree health insurance on early retirement using employee-level data from 54 diverse firms that are clients of Towers Watson, a leading benefits consulting firm. We find that retiree health coverage has its strongest effects at ages 62 through 64. Coverage that includes an employer contribution is associated with a 6.3 percentage point (36.2%) increase in the probability of turnover at age 62, a 7.7 percentage point (48.8%) increase in the probability of turnover at age 63, and a 5.5 percentage point (38.0%) increase in the probability of turnover at age 64. Conditional on working at age 57, such coverage reduces the expected retirement age by almost three months and reduces the total number of person-years worked between ages 58 and 64 by 5.6%.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 104 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 40-51

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:104:y:2013:i:c:p:40-51

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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Keywords: Retiree health insurance; Medicare; Retirement; Turnover;

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References

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  1. Robin L. Lumsdaine & James H. Stock & David A. Wise, 1996. "Retirement Incentives: The Interaction between Employer-Provided Pensions, Social Security, and Retiree Health Benefits," NBER Chapters, in: The Economic Effects of Aging in the United States and Japan, pages 261-293 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2009. "Comment on "Removing the Disincentives in Social Security for Long Careers"," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Policy in a Changing Environment, pages 38-41 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. James Marton & Stephen A. Woodbury, 2006. "Retiree Health Benefits and Retirement," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 06-128, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
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  15. Christina Robinson & Robert Clark, 2010. "Retiree Health Insurance and Disengagement from a Career Job," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 31(3), pages 247-262, September.
  16. Gopi Shah Goda & John B. Shoven & Sita Nataraj Slavov, 2009. "Removing the Disincentives in Social Security for Long Careers," NBER Chapters, in: Social Security Policy in a Changing Environment, pages 21-38 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Donald Bruce & Douglas Holtz-Eakin & Joseph F. Quinn, 2000. "Self-Employment and Labor Market Transitions at Older Ages," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 490, Boston College Department of Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Robert Clark & Olivia S. Mitchell, 2013. "How Does Retiree Health Insurance Influence Public Sector Employee Saving?," NBER Working Papers 19511, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. John B. Shoven & Sita Slavov, 2013. "The Role of Retiree Health Insurance in the Early Retirement of Public Sector Employees," NBER Working Papers 19563, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Maria D. Fitzpatrick, 2013. "Retiree Health Insurance for Public School Employees: Does it Affect Retirement?," NBER Working Papers 19524, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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