Forum Session

Is Health Care Eating Our Lunch? The Impact of Cost Trends on Workers and Retirees
July 20, 2012


Sally Coberly, PhD


Aware that health care costs consume a large share of current spending and contribute to the nation’s long-term fiscal problems, policymakers have been preoccupied with containing health care costs. But employers and workers also feel the pinch, as health care cost growth continues to outpace growth in gross domestic product and consumes a larger and larger share of wages. Health care is also a significant expense for retirees, especially those age 80 and older. This Forum Session provided an overview of how rising health care costs and the changing nature of insurance are affecting today’s workers and retirees. It also looked at projected retirement income adequacy for Baby Boomers and Gen Xers and the ability of these future retirees to finance health care in retirement. Finally, participants heard first-hand about the role health care expenses play in the financial difficulties experienced by individuals and families seeking credit counseling services.


Gary Claxton (bio)
Vice President and Director
Health Care Marketplace Project
Kaiser Family Foundation

Jack VanDerhei, PhD (bio)
Research Director
Employee Benefit Research Institute

Christopher Viale (bio)
President and Chief Executive Officer
Cambridge Credit Counseling Corp.

Related Materials

See a previous session by the Forum, "Financing Health Care in Retirement: A Day Late and a Dollar Short?" (Forum Session, February 24, 2006).

See also "Health Care Costs: A Primer," by the Kaiser Family Foundation, May 9, 2012, and "The EBRI Retirement Readiness Rating: Retirement Income Preparation and Future Prospects," by Jack VanDerhei and Craig Copeland, Employee Benefit Research Institute, EBRI Issue Brief No. 344, July 2010.  

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