Retirement: Older workers cling to their health coverage

June 20, 2008

Workers who are over 50 and don't expect to receive employer-provided healthcare benefits in retirement are more likely to choose the coverage rather than retire.

Beaches or benefits? Workers who are over 50 and don't expect to receive employer-provided healthcare benefits in retirement are more likely to choose the coverage rather than retire, according to Watson Wyatt, a company that provides advisory services to businesses. In fact, older workers seeking employer-provided healthcare are much more likely to stay in their jobs than their counterparts who get coverage from another source, such as a spouse or public insurance. Not surprisingly, the state of the stock market and whether or not older workers have a defined-benefit plan such as a traditional pension also affect how long they continue to work. The data comes from the University of Michigan's Health and Retirement Study, a biannual survey of 22,000 older workers.