'Retirement Age Expectations of Older Americans Between 2006 and 2010,' and 'Variation in Public Opinion on the Future of Employment-Based Health Benefits: Findings from the 2011 Health Confidence Survey'

December 2011, Vol. 32, No. 12
Paperback, 24 pp.
PDF, 1,065 kb
Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2011

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Executive Summary

Retirement Age Expectations of Older Americans Between 2006 and 2010


EXPECTED RETIREMENT AGE INCREASING: Data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) show a clear trend that workers age 50 or over are expecting to work longer, which is correlated with the financial crisis of 2007–2009. In 2006 (just before the recent recession), 11.2 percent expected to retire at age 70, and by 2010 (after it had officially ended) that had increased to 14.8 percent. Even at higher ages, the expected retirement has jumped: Just 1.7 percent of workers age 50 or over planned to retire at age 80 in 2006, which more than tripled to 5.2 percent in 2010. Expected retirement at ages 62 and 65 steadily declined over this four-year period.


NEVER RETIRE/DON’T KNOW: In 2008, during the recession, 22.4 percent of the workers age 50 or over said they plan to never retire. That declined to 16.3 percent in 2010 after the recession. Over the 2006–2010 period (before, during, and after the recession), another 14–18 percent of workers said they don’t know when they will retire.


Variation in Public Opinion on the Future of Employment-Based Health Benefits: Findings from the 2011 Health Confidence Survey


CONTINUED CONFIDENCE IN AVAILABILITY: The public is in large part confident that employers and unions will continue to offer health coverage following enactment of the federal health reform law. In 2011, 57 per-cent of individuals with employment-based coverage were extremely or very confident that their employer or union would continue to offer health coverage.


NOT CONFIDENT OF AFFORDABILITY: However, they are not confident that they could afford to purchase coverage on their own even if they were given the money by plan sponsors. In 2011, 20 percent were extremely or very confident that they could afford to purchase coverage.


MOST CONFIDENT: Individuals who are most confident in the future availability of employment-based health benefits and in their ability to afford and choose the best plan are those who are more educated, have higher income, are more satisfied with their health coverage, and rate the U.S. health care system higher.


LIKELY TO PURCHASE: Despite the low confidence levels that they could afford to purchase coverage, very few individuals reported that they are not likely to purchase coverage if employers and unions stopped offering it.