, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 97-112

Health insurance in the near elderly population

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Abstract

A number of studies have documented therising number of persons under age 65 who do not havehealth insurance. This paper focuses on the healthinsurance status of near elderly, those persons age 55through 64. A comparison age group, persons age 45through 54, is selected for benchmark purposes. Utilizing data from the 1996 Current PopulationSurvey, logistic regression is used to generateinsurance status prediction equations for both agegroups. Household characteristics, income, educationand employment are found to be significant predictorsof health insurance status, but fewer-than-expecteddifferences are found in comparing equations betweenthe two age groups. Results are discussed in thecontext of recent proposals to extend Medicarecoverage, the effect of Medicare policy changes on thenumber of near elderly persons without healthinsurance, and how prolonged periods of time withouthealth insurance may lead to an increased burden onMedicare as newly eligible Medicare recipients seekservices to address their pent-up demand for healthcare.