Number of Americans With Job-Based Health Benefits Increased in 2000 While Uninsured Declined

Productivity Growth and the Actuarial Balance of the Social Security Program

November 2001, Vol. 22, No. 11
Paperback, 16 pp.
PDF, 82 kb
Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2001

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Executive Summary

Number of Americans With Job-Based Health Benefits Increased in 2000 While Uninsured Declined—More than 67 percent of Americans under age 65—or 163.4 million Americans—were covered by an employment-based health plan during 2000, up from 66.6 percent in 1999. In addition, between 1999 and 2000, the number of uninsured nonelderly Americans declined from 39 million to 38.5 million, while the percentage declined from 16.2 percent to 15.9 percent. Although the expansion occurred at a time when health insurance costs were going up much more rapidly than increases in average income, general inflation, or growth in the gross domestic product (GDP), there is only modest evidence that employers shifted costs onto workers during 2000. The article cautions that these trends could easily change in the future as data become available concerning the combined effect of the economic slowdown and rising health benefit costs.


Productivity Growth and the Actuarial Balance of the Social Security Program—With the baby boom generation reaching retirement age, labor force growth is projected to slow significantly, to a level indicating that almost all future economic growth will be due to growth in productivity. This article uses SSASIM to evaluate the effects of different assumption values for the productivity growth rate on the actuarial balance of the Social Security program. It concludes that, while the recent sharp increase in productivity growth will improve the financial standing of the Social Security program, continuous levels of unprecedented growth in total productivity would be needed for the program to be able to meet all of its promised expenditures. Therefore, economic growth alone, even in a "new economy," appears to be unable to "solve" the projected funding shortfall of the Social Security program.