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Using the MEPS-IC to Study Retiree Health Insurance

Listed author(s):
  • Alice Zawacki

This paper discusses using the restricted-access Medical Expenditure Panel Survey- Insurance Component (MEPS-IC) to study employer-sponsored retiree health insurance (RHI). This topic is particularly interesting given current events such as the aging of baby boomers, rising health care costs, new prescription drug coverage under Medicare, and changes in accounting standards for reporting liabilities related to RHI offerings. Consequently, employers are grappling with an aging workforce, evaluating Medicare subsidies to employers for offering retiree drug plans, facing rising premium costs as a result of rising health care costs, and trying to show profitability on financial reports. This paper provides technical information on using the MEPS-IC to study RHI and points out data issues with some of the measures in the database. Descriptive statistics are provided to illustrate the types of retiree estimates possible using the MEPS-IC and to show some of the trends in this subject area. Not surprising, these estimates show that employer offers of RHI have declined, greater numbers of retirees are enrolling in these plans, and expenditures for employer-sponsored RHI have been rising.

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File Function: First version, 2006
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Paper provided by Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau in its series Working Papers with number 06-13.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2006
Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:06-13
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