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The impact of medical and nursing home expenses and social insurance

We consider a life-cycle model with idiosyncratic risk in earnings, out-of-pocket medical and nursing home expenses, and survival. Partial insurance is available through welfare, Medicaid, and social security. Calibrating the model to the United States, we show that (1) savings for old-age, out-of-pocket expenses account for 13.5 percent of aggregate wealth, half of which is due to nursing home expenses; (2) cross-sectional out-of-pocket nursing home risk accounts for 3 percent of aggregate wealth and substantially slows down wealth decumulation at older ages; (3) the impact of medical and nursing home expenses on private savings varies significantly across the lifetime earnings distribution; and (4) all newborns would benefit if social insurance for nursing home stays was made more generous.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in its series FRB Atlanta Working Paper with number 2010-19.

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Length: 51 pages
Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision: 01 Dec 2013
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedawp:2010-19
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  1. John Ameriks & Andrew Caplin & Steven Laufer & Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh, 2007. "The Joy of Giving or Assisted Living? Using Strategic Surveys to Separate Bequest and Precautionary Motives," NBER Working Papers 13105, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Mariacristina De Nardi & Eric French & John Bailey Jones, 2006. "Differential Mortality, Uncertain Medical Expenses, and the Saving of Elderly Singles," 2006 Meeting Papers 46, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Orazio Attanasio & Sagiri Kitao & Giovanni L. Violante, 2010. "Financing Medicare: A General Equilibrium Analysis," NBER Chapters, in: Demography and the Economy, pages 333-366 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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