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Health Insurance and Retirement Decisions

  • John Karl Scholz

    (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

  • Ananth Seshadri

    (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

We develop a rich model to study the complex interrelationship between health insurance and retirement decisions. The decision to retire depends on a number of factors including availability of health insurance, health shocks, pensions, Social Security, and how consumption and health interact in the utility function. We incorporate these features in a computational model of optimal wealth and retirement decisions, solving the model household-by-household using data from the HRS. We use the model to study two important SSA priority areas: first, to what extent do people remain in the labor force until age 65 in order to maintain health insurance for themselves (and after age 65 to maintain health insurance for their spouses)? Second, do early retirees have poorer health than others and does the availability of Medicare interact with their decision to claim benefits?

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Paper provided by University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center in its series Working Papers with number wp292.

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Length: 64 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp292
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  1. Fonseca, Raquel & Michaud, Pierre-Carl & Galama, Titus & Kapteyn, Arie, 2009. "On The Rise of Health Spending and Longevity," IZA Discussion Papers 4622, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. 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.
  3. John Laitner & Dan Silverman, 2005. "Estimating Life-Cycle Parameters from Consumption Behavior at Retirement," NBER Working Papers 11163, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Long, Stephen H. & Marquis, M. Susan & Rodgers, Jack, 1998. "Do people shift their use of health services over time to take advantage of insurance?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 105-115, January.
  5. Michael Hurd & Kathleen McGarry, 1993. "The Relationship Between Job Characteristics and Retirement," NBER Working Papers 4558, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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