Retiree Health Benefits:

Employer-Sponsored Benefits May Be Vulnerable to Further Erosion

GAO-01-374: Published: May 1, 2001. Publicly Released: May 31, 2001.

Contact:

Kathryn G. Allen
(202) 512-7059
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

In 1999, nearly 10 million retired people aged 55 or older relied on employer-sponsored health insurance as either their primary source of coverage or as a supplement to their Medicare coverage. Some of these persons are concerned about the continued availability of employer-sponsored coverage. Premium increases and forecasts for a potential economic slowdown could further erode employer-sponsored benefits. In the long term, these factors, coupled with the potential for Medicare reforms and the rising number of aging baby boomers, may produce even more uncertainty and cost pressures for employers. Consequently, as an increasing number of retirees lack employer-based coverage, those in poorer health may have difficulty finding affordable alternative health coverage.

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