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AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 2, June 2012

The Bulletin on Aging & Health

The shift towards defined contribution pension plans has placed much of the responsibility and risks associated with saving for retirement on individuals. Yet a growing body of literature raises questions about how well equipped individuals are to make optimal savings decisions. For example, past studies have documented relatively low levels of financial literacy and the large impact that default rules have on saving decisions. Employers have a number of potential levers...

Research Summaries

Article
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), passed in 2010 and recently upheld by the U.S Supreme Court, is the most profound change to health policy in the United States since the introduction of Medicare and Medicare in 1965. The PPACA is similar in many ways to the Massachusetts health reform law, which was implemented starting in 2006. As such, the Massachusetts experience can provide some guidance as to the likely effects of the national law. In earlier...
Article
Many developed countries have reduced the generosity of public pension benefits in recent years to improve the long-term financial outlook of their pension systems. Yet these reforms will create a gap in old-age income relative to current benefit levels. To avoid a drop in replacement rates, workers will need to bolster the second and third pillars of retirement security, occupational pensions and private savings. One interesting recent effort to strengthen retirement...
Article
In the U.S. and many other developed countries, increasing longevity and long-term fiscal imbalances in the social security system are prompting policy makers to consider increasing the age at which retired workers would be eligible for benefits. While this policy change would undoubtedly save money, it also raises concerns about whether workers would be able to continue working until the new eligibility age and how their well-being might be affected if they were unable to...
Article
The rising cost of public and private health insurance is a cause of mounting concern for policy makers, employers, and individuals. One frequently mentioned demand-side approach to controlling cost growth is to increase consumer cost-sharing, for example by incorporating larger deductibles or coinsurance into the design of insurance plans. A number of past studies dating back to the landmark RAND Health Insurance Experiment of the 1970s have established that demand for...

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