Monday, March 28, 2005

EBRI Reports Decreasing Availabiliy of Retiree Health Insurance

According to a new Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) Issue Brief on “The Impact of the Erosion of Retiree Health Benefits on Workers and Retirees”, both early retirees and those over age 65 experienced a substantial drop in employer-based retiree coverage from 1997 to 2002, the last year for which numbers are available. During that five-year period, EBRI reports that the percentage of private employers that offered health benefits to early retirees (those under 65) fell to 13% from 22%, the percentage of private employers that offered retiree health benefits to Medicare-eligible retirees (65 and older) dropped to 13% from 20%.
The EBRI study notes that signs of a shift in worker expectations are apparent already. In 1997, just over 50 percent of wage and salary workers ages 45–64 expected to receive health benefits in retirement; by 2002, that had declined to 47 percent.
Source: News Release Employee Benefit Research Institute (March 22, 2005)

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