'Choice of Health Plan: Findings from the 2009 EBRI/MGA Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey,' and 'Labor Force Participation Rates: The Population Age 55 and Older, 2008'

February 2010, Vol. 31, No. 2
Paperback, 20 pp.
PDF, 5,086 kb
Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2010

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Executive Summary

Choice of Health Plan: Findings from the 2009 EBRI/MGA Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey


LIMITED CHOICE: Most employers do not offer a choice of health plan, but when they do, large firms are much more likely than small firms to offer a choice. Because a disproportionate share of those with employment-based health benefits are employed by a large firm, between 50 percent and 60 percent of the covered population has a choice of health plan.


SURVEY RESULTS: The 2009 EBRI/MGA Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey finds that individuals with a choice of health plan are not only those who tend to work for a large firm, but also individuals with higher incomes and higher education. Individuals with a choice of health plan are more likely than those without a choice to be satisfied with their health plan and health care along a number of dimensions. However, controlling for choice of plan did not change the difference in satisfaction rates between individuals with traditional coverage and those enrolled in consumer-driven health plans and high-deductible health plans, when differences in satisfaction existed.


 


Labor Force Participation Rates: The Population Age 55 and Older, 2008


THE NEAR ELDERLY AND ELDERLY ARE STAYING IN THE WORK FORCE LONGER: The labor-force participation rate is increasing for those age 55 and older. The percentage of civilian noninstitutionalized Americans age 55 or older who were in the labor force declined from 34.6 percent 1975 to 29.4 percent in 1993. However, since 1993, the labor-force participation rate has steadily increased, reaching 39.4 percent in 2008—the highest level over the 1975–2008 period.


WOMEN ARE THE DRIVING FORCE FOR LONGER PARTICIPATION IN THE WORK FORCE: For those ages 55–64 (the near elderly), this is being driven almost exclusively by the increase of women in the work force; the male participation rate is flat to declining. However, among those age 65 and older (the elderly), labor-force participation is increasing for both males and females.


EDUCATION A MAJOR FACTOR: Education is a strong factor in an individual’s participation in the labor force at older ages: Individuals with higher levels of education are significantly more likely to be in the labor force than those with lower levels of education.


TREND WILL CONTINUE UPWARD: This upward trend among the working near elderly and elderly is not surprising and is likely to continue because of workers’ need for access to employment-based health insurance and for more earning years to accumulate assets in defined contribution (401(k)-type) plans—especially after the 2008 downturn in the stock market and economy. Many Americans also want to work longer, especially among those with more education.