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Love or Money? Health Insurance and Retirement Among Married Couples

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  • Kanika Kapur
  • Jeannette Rogowski

Abstract

This paper examines the role of employer provided health insurance in the retirement decisions of dual working couples. The near elderly have high-expected medical expenditures; therefore, availability of health insurance is an important factor in their retirement decisions. We determine if access to retiree health insurance for early retirement enables couples to time their retirement together %u2013 a behavior called %u201Cjoint retirement.%u201D We find that wives%u2019 retiree health insurance more than doubles the propensity to retire jointly, suggesting that health insurance is an important consideration in coordinating retirement decisions among couples. Even though retiree health insurance has a substantial effect on joint retirement, its effect on overall employment patterns is modest, accounting for a 2 percentage point fall in employment.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12273.

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Date of creation: Jun 2006
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12273

Note: AG HC HE LS
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  1. Coile Courtney, 2004. "Retirement Incentives and Couples' Retirement Decisions," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-30, July.
  2. Eric French & John Bailey Jones, 2011. "The Effects of Health Insurance and Self‐Insurance on Retirement Behavior," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(3), pages 693-732, 05.
  3. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 2001. "Social Security, Pensions and Retirement Behavior Within the Family," Working Papers wp018, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  4. John Rust & Christopher Phelan, 1994. "How Social Security and Medicare Affect Retirement Behavior in a World of Incomplete Markets," Public Economics 9406005, EconWPA, revised 06 Jul 1994.
  5. Hutchens, Robert, 1986. "Delayed Payment Contracts and a Firm's Propensity to Hire Older Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(4), pages 439-57, October.
  6. Mark C. Berger & Dan A. Black & Frank A. Scott & Amitabh Chandra, 1999. "Health insurance coverage of the unemployed: COBRA and the potential effects of Kassebaum-Kennedy," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(3), pages 430-448.
  7. Lynn A. Karoly & Jeannette A. Rogowski, 1994. "The effect of access to post-retirement health insurance on the decision to retire early," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 48(1), pages 103-123, October.
  8. Blau, David M, 1998. "Labor Force Dynamics of Older Married Couples," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(3), pages 595-629, July.
  9. Jonathan Gruber & Brigitte C. Madrian, 1996. "Health Insurance and Early Retirement: Evidence from the Availability of Continuation Coverage," NBER Chapters, in: Advances in the Economics of Aging, pages 115-146 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Jonathan Gruber & Brigitte C. Madrian, 2002. "Health Insurance, Labor Supply, and Job Mobility: A Critical Review of the Literature," NBER Working Papers 8817, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Gruber, Jonathan & Madrian, Brigitte C, 1995. "Health-Insurance Availability and the Retirement Decision," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 938-48, September.
  12. Michael D. Hurd, 1988. "The Joint Retirement Decision of Husbands and Wives," NBER Working Papers 2803, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Gale, William G, 1994. "Public Policies and Private Pension Contributions," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 26(3), pages 710-32, August.
  14. David M. Blau & Donna B. Gilleskie, 2003. "The Role of Retiree Health Insurance in the Employment Behavior of Older Men," NBER Working Papers 10100, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Jody Schimmel, 2006. "Men With Health Insurance and the Women Who Love Them: the Effect of a Husband's Retirement on His Wife's Health Insurance Coverage," Working Papers wp131, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.

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