Providing Health Care Benefits in Retirement

Providing Health Care Benefits in Retirement

Providing Health Care Benefits in Retirement

Providing Health Care Benefits in Retirement

Synopsis

"This volume highlights many of the special health insurance problems facing the elderly and some of the solutions that the reform process must consider. The contributors to this book represent the diverse professions involved in providing health care security to older Americans: policymaking and academic economists, actuaries, statisticians, physicians, employee benefit plan sponsors, labor union representatives, attorneys, and health care policy specialists. Issues central to the debate are the elderly population's special risk of health problems and its precarious position as health reform proposals unfold. The evolving process of reforming our health care system must reflect the politics and economics of retiree health care coverage. No other book includes such a diverse cross-section of research and opinion about this extremely expensive and valuable benefit. Providing Health Care Benefits in Retirement will be of interest to students, scholars, and professionals in areas of human resources, economics, health insurance, and employee benefits." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

This is a book about health care insurance for retirees in the United States. in the past, many employers automatically extended to workers who retired before age 65 the same health insurance package provided to active employees. At and after age 65, older retirees would turn to Medicare coverage for large components of their medical care needs.

Unfortunately, health insurance coverage patterns have changed in the last decade, leaving many older (as well as younger) Americans susceptible to economic insecurity occasioned by inadequate health insurance coverage. One objective of this volume is to evaluate several explanations for recent trends in retiree health insurance patterns. These explanations are often complex, as illustrated by contributors to this volume who come from private sector management and labor, and who are economists, physicians, and policymakers.

As the health care reform debate continues, a second objective of this book is to underscore the need to focus on retirees' special health issues. Policy discussions frequently have overlooked both the costs of offering retiree health insurance coverage and the benefits of providing health care to the elderly. As many contributors to this volume note, the elderly are caught between the pincers of reform proposals: prospective benefits legislation that certainly will affect employer willingness to continue support for expensive retiree health benefits, and Medicare changes that also may curtail benefits obtainable from the government. the fact that these reforms often are targeted at the types of medical care most often consumed by older people makes this group deserving of special attention.

The last and, perhaps, most important goal of this book is to offer new perspectives and evaluative tools that readers then may use to examine these as well as other health reform concerns. To this end, the contribu-

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