Health Insurance and Retirement Behavior: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Survey

by Jeannette Rogowski, Lynn A. Karoly

Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price
Add to Cart Paperback11 pages Free

This paper studies the role of health insurance in the retirement decisions of older workers. As policymakers consider mechanisms for how to increase access to affordable health insurance for the near elderly, considerations of the potential labor force implications of such policies will be important to consider -- potentially inducing retirement just at a time when labor force is shrinking. Using data from the 1992 and 1996 waves of the Health and Retirement Survey, this study demonstrates that access to post-retirement health insurance has a large effect on retirement. Among older male workers, those with retiree health benefit offers are 68% more likely to retire (and those with non-employment based insurance are 44% more likely to retire) than their counterparts who would lose employment-based health insurance upon retirement. In addition, the study demonstrated that in retirement models, when retiree health benefits are controlled for, the effects of pension coverage are reduced, suggesting that these effects may have been overestimated in the prior literature.

Originally published in: Journal of Health Economics, v. 19, no. 4, July 2000, pp. 529-539.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Reprint series. The Reprint was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1992 to 2011 that represented previously published journal articles, book chapters, and reports with the permission of the publisher. RAND reprints were formally reviewed in accordance with the publisher's editorial policy and compliant with RAND's rigorous quality assurance standards for quality and objectivity. For select current RAND journal articles, see External Publications.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.