(UM13-01) - Health Insurance and Retirement Decisions
John Karl Scholz and Ananth Seshadri
We develop a rich model to study the complex interrelationship between health insurance and retirement decisions. The decision to retire depends on a number of factors including availability of health insurance, health shocks, pensions, Social Security, and how consumption and health interact in the utility function. We incorporate these features in a computational model of optimal wealth and retirement decisions, solving the model household-by-household using data from the HRS. We use the model to study two important SSA priority areas: first, to what extent do people remain in the labor force until age 65 in order to maintain health insurance for themselves (and after age 65 to maintain health insurance for their spouses)? Second, do early retirees have poorer health than others and does the availability of Medicare interact with their decision to claim benefits?