AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 2, June 2006

The Bulletin on Aging & Health

The introduction of Medicare's new Part D prescription drug benefit is perhaps the most significant expansion of the program since its inception in 1965. The cost of the drug benefit for 2004-2013 is projected to be $410 Billion. As of mid-April 2006, 19.7 million Medicare beneficiaries were enrolled in a Part D plan, including 8.1 million beneficiaries who signed up for new stand alone prescription drug plans (PDPs). While private insurance markets have generally failed...

Research Summaries

Article
The typical employer provided pension has changed dramatically over the past twenty years. The fraction of private sector employers offering defined benefit (DB) plans, in which employees receive a fixed benefit determined by a formula, has declined, while there has been a sharp increase in the fraction offering defined contribution (DC) plans such as 401(k)s, in which the employer's contribution is specified but benefits depend on asset returns. Among employees with...
Article
Robert Lucas once famously said regarding the determinants of economic growth, "once one starts to think about them, it is hard to think of anything else." The same could be said for the determinants of mortality, since the length of life is as critical a measure of our wellbeing as is our income. In "Determinants of Mortality" (NBER Working Paper 11963), David Cutler, Angus Deaton, and Adriana Lleras-Muney explore many aspects of this important topic, including the...

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