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Older Workers' Access to Employer-Sponsored Retiree Health Insurance, 2000-2004

Listed author(s):
  • Christine Eibner
  • Alice Zawacki
  • Elaine Zimmerman

Using a multivariate framework, we analyze recent trends in employer provision of retiree health insurance (RHI), eligibility for new retirees, and retiree contribution requirements. We also explore whether local labor market characteristics such as the unemployment rate influence RHI provision. Finally, we examine whether the Medicare Modernization Act (MMA) was associated with diverging trends in RHI access for Medicare-eligible and early retirees. Data come for the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey—Insurance Component (MEPS-IC). We find that, while RHI provision to existing retirees remained stable, eligibility for new retirees declined, and contribution requirements increased between 2000 and 2004. The local labor market had no effect on RHI provision. While early retiree coverage was more common than coverage for Medicare-eligible retirees, we did not find a divergence subsequent to MMA. These results suggest growing financial instability for retirees, both because RHI contribution requirements increased, and because businesses dropped coverage for new retirees.

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File Function: First version, 2007
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Paper provided by Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau in its series Working Papers with number 07-12.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2007
Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:07-12
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