The Role of Retiree Health Insurance in the Employment Behavior of Older Men

David M. Blau, Donna B. Gilleskie

NBER Working Paper No. 10100
Issued in November 2003
NBER Program(s):Asset Pricing, Health Care, Labor Studies

We model the employment and medical care decisions of older men who face health risk. The budget constraint incorporates detailed characteristics of health insurance as well as Social Security and private pensions. A man whose health insurance is tied to continued employment with his current employer faces the risk of large medical expenditures in the event of an adverse health shock if he retires before becoming eligible for Medicare at age 65. A man whose employer provides retiree health insurance or who has access to other health insurance not tied to his employment decision (e.g., from his wife) can retire before age 65 without consequences for his health insurance coverage. We use data from the Health and Retirement Survey to estimate the parameters of the model using structural methods. Simulations based on the estimates imply that changes in health insurance, including access and restrictions to retiree health insurance and Medicare have a modest impact on employment behavior among older males.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w10100

Published: David M. Blau & Donna B. Gilleskie, 2008. "The Role Of Retiree Health Insurance In The Employment Behavior Of Older Men," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(2), pages 475-514, 05. citation courtesy of

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