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Social Security Benefit Claiming and Medicare Utilization

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  • John Bound

    (University of Michigan)

  • Helen Levy

    (University of Michigan)

  • Lauren Hersch Nicholas

    (Johns Hopkins University and University of Michigan)

Abstract

Are early Social Security claimers too sick to work? We linked Health and Retirement Study data to Medicare claims to study health care utilization at ages 65 and 70. We find that Social Security Disability Insurance recipients use more health care on average than those who never received DI. At age 65, Medicare spending on SSDI recipients was $4,440 more than spending on retirees who claimed Social Security benefits prior to Full Retirement Age (FRA) and $4,727 more than those claiming at FRA. Differences in Medicare spending persist at all points of the spending distribution. They are robust to a variety of methodological approaches including general linear models, quantile regression, and reweighting, and in specifications limiting comparisons to beneficiaries claiming benefits at initial EEA. Our results suggest that poor health may contribute to EEA claiming decisions, though this group is considerably healthier than those who were too disabled to work and qualified for DI benefits.

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File URL: http://www.mrrc.isr.umich.edu/publications/Papers/pdf/wp297.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center in its series Working Papers with number wp297.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp297

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  1. Nidardo, J. & Fortin, N. & Lemieux, T., 1994. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: A Semiparametric Approach," Papers 93-94-15, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
  2. Manning, Willard G. & Mullahy, John, 2001. "Estimating log models: to transform or not to transform?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 461-494, July.
  3. David Card & Carlos Dobkin & Nicole Maestas, 2008. "The Impact of Nearly Universal Insurance Coverage on Health Care Utilization: Evidence from Medicare," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 2242-58, December.
  4. Congressional Budget Office, 2012. "Raising the Ages of Eligibility for Medicare and Social Security," Reports 42683, Congressional Budget Office.
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