Friday, May 09, 2008

Research: Employees without Other Health Insurance Less Likely To Retire

A Watson Wyatt analysis of retirement data finds that older workers without other health care insurance options are more likely to defer retirement to stay covered under their employer’s plan. While other factors, such as whether an employee has a pension, also contribute to decisions on when to retire, "employees who rely on their employers for health care coverage and do not expect to receive employer-provided health benefits in retirement are 16.5 percentage points less likely to retire in any given year than workers with access to health care coverage through another source."

The Watson Wyatt analysis--"Predictive Factors for Retirement Timing"--was made on data collected from 1992 to 2004 as part of the University of Michigan’s Health and Retirement Study. Factors other than health care which influence retirement decisions include:
  • Retirement plan types. Having only a defined benefit increases the likelihood of retirement by 4.1 percentage points.
  • Public policies. The gradual increase of the age at which workers can retire and receive full Social Security benefits from 65 to 67, workers born in the 1940s are less likely to retire early than those born in the 1930s.
  • Household wealth. While workers’ household financial wealth obviously has an effect on their retirement decisions, the source of the wealth also makes a difference. For example, a $100,000 increase in expected income from a pension plan is more likely to prompt earlier retirement than an increase in housing equity.
Source: Watson Wyatt Worldwide Press Release (May 7, 2008)

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