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Social Security Benefit Claiming and Medicare Utilization

Author

Listed:
  • John Bound

    (University of Michigan)

  • Helen Levy

    (University of Michigan)

  • Lauren Hersch Nicholas

    (Johns Hopkins University and University of Michigan)

Abstract

Are early Social Security claimers too sick to work? We linked Health and Retirement Study data to Medicare claims to study health care utilization at ages 65 and 70. We find that Social Security Disability Insurance recipients use more health care on average than those who never received DI. At age 65, Medicare spending on SSDI recipients was $4,440 more than spending on retirees who claimed Social Security benefits prior to Full Retirement Age (FRA) and $4,727 more than those claiming at FRA. Differences in Medicare spending persist at all points of the spending distribution. They are robust to a variety of methodological approaches including general linear models, quantile regression, and reweighting, and in specifications limiting comparisons to beneficiaries claiming benefits at initial EEA. Our results suggest that poor health may contribute to EEA claiming decisions, though this group is considerably healthier than those who were too disabled to work and qualified for DI benefits.

Suggested Citation

  • John Bound & Helen Levy & Lauren Hersch Nicholas, 2013. "Social Security Benefit Claiming and Medicare Utilization," Working Papers wp297, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:mrr:papers:wp297
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    File URL: http://www.mrrc.isr.umich.edu/publications/Papers/pdf/wp297.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Congressional Budget Office, 2012. "Raising the Ages of Eligibility for Medicare and Social Security," Reports 42683, Congressional Budget Office.
    2. DiNardo, John & Fortin, Nicole M & Lemieux, Thomas, 1996. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: A Semiparametric Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(5), pages 1001-1044, September.
    3. David Card & Carlos Dobkin & Nicole Maestas, 2008. "The Impact of Nearly Universal Insurance Coverage on Health Care Utilization: Evidence from Medicare," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 2242-2258, December.
    4. repec:cbo:report:42683 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Manning, Willard G. & Mullahy, John, 2001. "Estimating log models: to transform or not to transform?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 461-494, July.
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