Retiree Well being Advantages: Going, Going, Almost Gone?

Employer- and union-sponsored retiree Health advantages have served as an necessary supply of supplemental protection for individuals on Medicare. Retiree Health plans have helped fill the gaps in Medicare’s profit design by filling in some or all of Medicare’s deductibles and cost-sharing necessities and providing advantages that aren’t coated by conventional Medicare, equivalent to dental and imaginative and prescient and a cap on out-of-pocket spending.

For the previous 25 years, KFF has tracked developments in employer-sponsored protection, together with retiree Health advantages. KFF’s 2023 employer survey reveals a drop within the share of enormous employers (with 200 or extra staff) providing Health advantages to their retirees from 29% in 2020 to 21% in 2023, down from 66% in 1988. Amongst massive employers that also provide retiree Health advantages to Medicare-age retirees, KFF’s survey reveals a considerable rise within the share doing so by way of Medicare Benefit plans in recent times. As we speak, about 5 million Medicare-age retirees get their Medicare and supplemental retiree advantages from a bunch Medicare Benefit plan, in response to KFF’s separate evaluation of Medicare Benefit enrollment information.

This information observe analyzes 5 nationwide surveys to evaluate developments in retiree Health protection amongst individuals ages 65 and older (Determine 1). These 5 surveys produce considerably completely different estimates of retiree Health protection, however collectively paint a transparent image: the share of Medicare-age adults with employer- or union-sponsored retiree Health protection has been shrinking and seems to be on the best way to extinction.
Determine 1: 5 Nationwide Surveys Present a Declining Share of Medicare-Age Adults with Supplemental Retiree <a href=Health Advantages” width=”800″ top=”450″ srcset=” 1280w,,169 300w,,432 768w,,576 1024w,,426 758w,,428 760w,,413 735w,,393 698w,,225 400w,,113 200w,,121 215w,,450 800w” sizes=”(max-width: 800px) 100vw, 800px”/>

Estimates of the share of individuals ages 65 and older with retiree Health advantages in 2022 fluctuate throughout the 5 surveys, starting from 21% (American Group Survey) to 12% (Nationwide Health Interview Survey). These variations are probably on account of variations in pattern measurement, variations in query wording, skip patterns and pattern inhabitants (See Methods). As with the estimates for 2022, the development strains additionally fluctuate. For instance, the American Group Survey reveals the share declining from 31% in 2008, whereas the Nationwide Health Interview Survey reveals the share declining from 22% in 2008 that yr.

Retiree Health advantages seem like heading towards extinction for quite a lot of causes. The rise in Health Care prices has put strain on employers to make tradeoffs between offering advantages to lively employees versus retirees, accelerating this development. Union membership has steadily declined over the previous few a long time, easing the strain on employers to offer retiree advantages. And the demand for retiree advantages could also be much less intense than IT as soon as was as a result of Medicare advantages have improved considerably through the years, with the prescription drug profit that was added in 2006 and the provide of some additional advantages for beneficiaries who select to enroll in a Medicare Benefit plan.

The erosion of retiree Health protection, given the excessive price of Health Care and the modest incomes and belongings of a big share of the Medicare inhabitants, heightens the significance of Medicare protection selections for retiring boomers and their spouses, and the significance of addressing the challenges going through Medicare’s future. Throughout every of those nationwide surveys, retiree advantages appear to be going, going and should quickly be gone.


This information observe is predicated on an evaluation of 5 nationwide surveys. The evaluation of the Present Inhabitants Survey can’t be trended to years previous to 2013 Health-reform/issue-brief/measuring-changes-in-insurance-coverage-under-the-affordable-care-act/”>on account of enhancements made by the U.S. Census Bureau to the Health Insurance coverage Questionnaire of the Present Inhabitants Survey between 2012 and 2013. This evaluation doesn’t embody information from the Medicare Present Beneficiary Survey on account of methodological adjustments which can be more likely to influence protection project and developments.

Variations reported within the paper and within the determine denote statistical significance on the 5% stage relative to 2022, aside from SIPP, HRS, and the pre-redesigned CPS phase (beginning in 2005), that are relative to 2021, 2020, and 2012, respectively. The numbers displayed present the p.c of retired individuals ages 65 and older who’re holding employer-sponsored insurance coverage (ESI) from any supply, aside from these within the ACS, which depicts the p.c of individuals ages 65 and older not within the labor pressure who’re holding ESI from any supply.

All surveys present annual estimates, aside from SIPP, which gives information month-to-month; all depicted SIPP information are from September of the given yr. HRS information are supplied each two years (even-numbered years).

Tricia Neuman is with KFF. Anthony Damico is an impartial guide.


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