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Retiree Health Benefits and Retirement

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  • James Marton

    (University of Kentucky)

  • Stephen A. Woodbury

    ()
    (Michigan State University and W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research)

Abstract

Employer-provided health benefit coverage for workers who retire before age 65 has fallen over the last decade. We examine a cohort of male workers from the Health and Retirement Survey to examine questions about the dynamics of retiree health benefits and the relationship between retiree health benefits and retirement behavior, which is important for the debate over increasing health coverage for older Americans without reducing work incentives. On dynamics, we find that between 1992 and 1996, 24 percent of full-time workers who had retiree health benefits lost their coverage, while 15 percent of full-time workers who lacked coverage gained it. Also, of the full-time employed men who were covered by retiree health benefits in 1992 and had retired by 1996, 3 percent were uninsured, and 15 percent were covered by health insurance other than employer-provided insurance. On the relationship between retiree health benefits and retirement, we find that workers with retiree benefits were 29 to 55 percent more likely to retire than those without. We also find that workers who are eligible for retiree health benefits tend to take advantage of them when they are relatively young.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research in its series Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles with number 06-128.

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Date of creation: Jul 2006
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Handle: RePEc:upj:weupjo:06-128

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Keywords: Marton; Woodbury; health insurance; employee benefits; retirement; elderly; employment; retiree health benefits;

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References

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  1. Michael Hurd & Kathleen McGarry, 1993. "The Relationship Between Job Characteristics and Retirement," NBER Working Papers 4558, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. John Rust & Christopher Phelan, 1997. "How Social Security and Medicare Affect Retirement Behavior in a World of Incomplete Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(4), pages 781-832, July.
  3. Stephen A. Woodbury, 2009. "Unemployment," Book chapters authored by Upjohn Institute researchers, in: Kenneth G. Dau-Schmidt & Seth D. Harris & Orley Lobel (ed.), Labor and Employment Law and Economics, volume 2, pages 480-516 W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  4. Thomas C. Buchmueller & Robert G. Valletta, 1996. "The effect of health insurance on married female labor supply," Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory 96-09, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  5. Stephen A. Woodbury, 1996. "Employee Benefits and Tax Reform," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 96-45, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  6. Richard W. Johnson & Amy J. Davidoff & Kevin Perese, 2003. "Health insurance costs and early retirement decisions," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(4), pages 716-729, July.
  7. Rogowski, Jeannette & Karoly, Lynn, 2000. "Health insurance and retirement behavior: evidence from the health and retirement survey," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 529-539, July.
  8. Hamermesh, Daniel S., 2000. "Timing, Togetherness and Time Windfalls," IZA Discussion Papers 173, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. 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.
  10. Bridgitte C. Madrian, 1994. "The Effect of Health Insurance on Retirement," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(1), pages 181-152.
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Cited by:
  1. Nyce, Steven & Schieber, Sylvester J. & Shoven, John B. & Slavov, Sita Nataraj & Wise, David A., 2013. "Does retiree health insurance encourage early retirement?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 40-51.
  2. Byron Lutz & Louise Sheiner, 2014. "The Fiscal Stress Arising from State and Local Retiree Health Obligations," NBER Working Papers 19779, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 2014. "The Role of Health in Retirement," NBER Working Papers 19902, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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