Other Free Encyclopedias » Medicine Encyclopedia » Aging Healthy - Part 2 » Employee Health Insurance - The History And Economic Theory Of Employer-provided Health Insurance, Prevalence And Types Of Health Insurance Coverage

Employee Health Insurance - Summary

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For many older Americans, health insurance and employment are very closely tied. The majority of the near-elderly receive health insurance coverage as a benefit from their employer, although economic theory indicates that the true cost of insurance is borne by the employee through lower wages. Having employers provide health insurance provides some tax benefits for employees, since health insurance benefits are not taxable, but it also introduces constraints on the work and retirement decisions of the near-elderly. With employer-provided benefits ending when an individual leaves a job, and a reduction in the percentage of employers who are offering health benefits to retirees, individuals under the age of sixty-five may find they lose their insurance coverage if they leave their job. Legislation such as COBRA and HIPAA has attempted to lessen this burden by allowing individuals to continue to purchase insurance from their former employers, reducing pre-existing condition limitations for insurance companies, and expanding the guarantee of access to group and individual insurance policies. However, until an individual reaches age sixty-five and is eligible for Medicare, health insurance coverage continues to be an important issue for aging Americans.

KATHRYN WILSON

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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GRUBER, J., and MADRIAN, B. "Health-Insurance Availability and the Retirement Decision." The American Economic Review 85 (1995): 938–948.

JOHNSON, R. W., and CRYSTAL, S. "Health Insurance Coverage at Midlife: Characteristics, Costs, and Dynamics." Health Care Financing Review 18 (1997): 123–148.

MADRIAN, B. C., and BEAULIEU, N. D. "Does Medicare Eligibility Affect Retirement?" In Inquiries in the Economics of Aging. Edited by David A Wise. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1998. Pages 109–132.

MITCHELL, J. M., and PHELPS, C. E. "National Health Insurance: Some Costs and Effects of Mandated Employee Coverage." Journal of Political Economy 84 (1976): 553–571.

PAULY, M. V. Health Benefits at Work: An Economic and Political Analysis of Employer-Provided Health Insurance. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1997.

ROGOWSKI, J., and KAROLY, L. "Health Insurance and Retirement Behavior: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Survey." Journal of Health Economics 19 (2000): 529–539.

ROYALTY, A. B. "Tax Preferences for Fringe Benefits and Workers' Eligibility for Employer Health Insurance." Journal of Public Economics 75 (2000): 209–227.

SCHULZ, J. H. The Economics of Aging, 7th ed. Westport, Conn.: Auburn House, 2001.

U.S. Census Bureau. Statistical Abstract of the United States. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Bureau, 2000.

U.S. Department of Labor. Health Benefits Under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. Washington, D.C.: DoL, 1999. Available online at www.dol.gov

U.S. Department of Labor. Questions and Answers: Recent Changes in Health Care Law. Washington, D.C.: DoL, 1999. Available on the World Wide Web at www.dol.gov

U.S. Department of Labor. Pension and Health Care Coverage. . . Questions and Answers for Dislocated Workers. Washington, D.C.: DoL, 2001. Available online at www.dol.gov

WISE, D. A., ed. Inquiries in the Economics of Aging. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1998.

WISE, D. A., ed. Frontiers in the Economics of Aging. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1998.

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