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Love or Money? Health Insurance and Retirement Among Married Couples

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Listed:
  • Kanika Kapur
  • Jeannette Rogowski

Abstract

This paper examines the role of employer provided health insurance in the retirement decisions of dual working couples. The near elderly have high-expected medical expenditures; therefore, availability of health insurance is an important factor in their retirement decisions. We determine if access to retiree health insurance for early retirement enables couples to time their retirement together %u2013 a behavior called %u201Cjoint retirement.%u201D We find that wives%u2019 retiree health insurance more than doubles the propensity to retire jointly, suggesting that health insurance is an important consideration in coordinating retirement decisions among couples. Even though retiree health insurance has a substantial effect on joint retirement, its effect on overall employment patterns is modest, accounting for a 2 percentage point fall in employment.

Suggested Citation

  • Kanika Kapur & Jeannette Rogowski, 2006. "Love or Money? Health Insurance and Retirement Among Married Couples," NBER Working Papers 12273, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12273
    Note: AG HC HE LS
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 2004. "Social security, pensions and retirement behaviour within the family," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(6), pages 723-737.
    2. Blau, David M, 1998. "Labor Force Dynamics of Older Married Couples," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(3), pages 595-629, July.
    3. Coile Courtney, 2004. "Retirement Incentives and Couples' Retirement Decisions," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-30, July.
    4. Michael D. Hurd, 1990. "The Joint Retirement Decision of Husbands and Wives," NBER Chapters,in: Issues in the Economics of Aging, pages 231-258 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Gruber, Jonathan & Madrian, Brigitte C, 1995. "Health-Insurance Availability and the Retirement Decision," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 938-948, September.
    6. Eric French & John Bailey Jones, 2011. "The Effects of Health Insurance and Self‐Insurance on Retirement Behavior," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(3), pages 693-732, May.
    7. John Rust & Christopher Phelan, 1997. "How Social Security and Medicare Affect Retirement Behavior in a World of Incomplete Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(4), pages 781-832, July.
    8. David M. Blau & Donna B. Gilleskie, 2008. "The Role Of Retiree Health Insurance In The Employment Behavior Of Older Men," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(2), pages 475-514, May.
    9. William G. Gale, 1994. "Public policies and private pension contributions," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, pages 710-734.
    10. Jonathan Gruber & Brigitte C. Madrian, 1996. "Health Insurance and Early Retirement: Evidence from the Availability of Continuation Coverage," NBER Chapters,in: Advances in the Economics of Aging, pages 115-146 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Jonathan Gruber & Brigitte C. Madrian, 2002. "Health Insurance, Labor Supply, and Job Mobility: A Critical Review of the Literature," JCPR Working Papers 255, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    12. Mark C. Berger & Dan A. Black & Frank A. Scott & Amitabh Chandra, 1999. "Health insurance coverage of the unemployed: COBRA and the potential effects of Kassebaum-Kennedy," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(3), pages 430-448.
    13. Hutchens, Robert, 1986. "Delayed Payment Contracts and a Firm's Propensity to Hire Older Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(4), pages 439-457, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jody Schimmel, 2006. "Men With Health Insurance and the Women Who Love Them: the Effect of a Husband's Retirement on His Wife's Health Insurance Coverage," Working Papers wp131, University of Michigan, Michigan Retirement Research Center.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions

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