Social Security Benefit Claiming and Medicare Utilization

24 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2014 Last revised: 19 Mar 2014

See all articles by John Bound

John Bound

University of Michigan; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Helen Levy

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Institute for Social Research (ISR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Lauren Hersch Nicholas

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Institute for Social Research (ISR)

Date Written: October 1, 2013

Abstract

Are early Social Security claimers too sick to work? We linked Health and Retirement Study data to Medicare claims to study health care utilization at ages 65 and 70. We find that Social Security Disability Insurance recipients use more health care on average than those who never received DI. At age 65, Medicare spending on SSDI recipients was $4,440 more than spending on retirees who claimed Social Security benefits prior to Full Retirement Age (FRA) and $4,727 more than those claiming at FRA. Differences in Medicare spending persist at all points of the spending distribution. They are robust to a variety of methodological approaches including general linear models, quantile regression, and reweighting, and in specifications limiting comparisons to beneficiaries claiming benefits at initial EEA. Our results suggest that poor health may contribute to EEA claiming decisions, though this group is considerably healthier than those who were too disabled to work and qualified for DI benefits.

Keywords: early retirement, Social Security Disability Insurance, Medicare, health care utilization

Suggested Citation

Bound, John and Levy, Helen and Nicholas, Lauren Hersch, Social Security Benefit Claiming and Medicare Utilization (October 1, 2013). Michigan Retirement Research Center Research Paper No. 2013-297, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2376855 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2376855

John Bound

University of Michigan ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Helen Levy

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Institute for Social Research (ISR) ( email )

Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1248
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Lauren Hersch Nicholas (Contact Author)

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Institute for Social Research (ISR) ( email )

Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1248
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.psc.isr.umich.edu/people/profile/792/Lauren_Nicholas

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