Many U.S. workers still expect their employers to help them pay for medical coverage when they get old.[@@]
Paul Fronstin, a researcher at the Employee Benefit Research Institute, Washington, has published statistics illustrating the depth of workers’ ignorance in a new EBRI issue brief.
When Fronstin analyzed government data on income, benefits and worker expectations, he found that the share of U.S. “early retirees,” or retirees ages 55 to 64, who were getting retiree health benefits from former employers fell to 28.7% in 2002, from 39.2% just 5 years earlier.
The share of “Medicare-eligible retirees,” or retirees age 65 and older, who received retiree health benefits fell to 25.5%, from 28.1%, over that same period.
But Fronstin found when he analyzed worker expectations that many workers were unaware how much had changed between 1997 and 2002.
The share of workers expecting retiree health benefits fell only slightly, to 47%, from 50%.
The gap between 2002 expectations and 2002 reality was narrowest for workers who had graduate degrees.