Coverage

Near-Elderly Adults, Ages 55-64: Health Insurance Coverage, Cost and A

This compilation of tables and figures shows information on health insurance coverage, cost of care and coverage, and access to care and coverage for people 55-64 years of age.

Insurance Status by Age

Table 1. Insurance status by age

Insurance status/
Population
Ages
25-34
Ages
35-44
Ages
45-54
Ages
55-64
Ages
55-59
Ages
60-64
Population (millions)39.043.142.431.817.913.9
 Proportion with:
Any private0.642*0.7180.7430.7430.759#0.722
Any employment-related0.615*0.6930.7080.690.708#0.667
Policyholder of employment-related0.469*0.4960.5040.50.5110.486
Any individual coverage0.029*0.03*0.038*0.0610.060.061
Any Medicaid0.078*0.060.0550.0560.050.063
Any Medicare0.008*0.021*0.037*0.0760.063#0.093
Any other public0.013*0.019*0.029*0.050.0440.059
Uninsured0.277*0.207*0.1720.1530.1470.16

Source: 2006 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey—Household Component
* indicates that the estimates are statistically different from those for individuals ages 55-64 at the 5% level.
# indicates that the estimates for individuals ages 55-59 and ages 60-64 are statistically different at the 5% level. The percentages may not sum to 100% since individuals can be covered by more than one source of insurance. Individuals are classified as having a particular source of insurance if they have that source at some point in the first half of 2006. They are classified as uninsured if they are uninsured throughout the first half of 2006. Individuals are classified as working if they were working at the time of their first interview in 2006.

  • Near-elderly adults, ages 55-64, were less likely to be uninsured than individuals ages 25-34 and 35-44 (Table 1).
  • Individuals ages 45-54 and 55-64 had similar rates of private health insurance, employment-related coverage, and being uninsured.
  • Near-elderly individuals were more likely than those of all other age groups to have individual coverage, Medicare, and other public coverage.
  • Individuals ages 55-59 were more likely to have employment-related coverage than those ages 60-64. Individuals ages 60-64 were more likely to have Medicare coverage than those ages 55-59.

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Full-Year Insurance Status by Age

Table 2. Health insurance status throughout 2006

Insurance status/
Population
25-5425-3435-4445-5455-64
 Individuals insured in January
Population total (millions)96.327.733.834.826.6
Percentage that were:     
Insured all year93.0*90.4*93.4*94.895.9
 Individuals uninsured in January
Population total (millions)27.511.19.17.34.7
Percentage that obtained:a     
Any insurance23.223.824.320.720.2
Individual coverage1.72.0~2.4~0.6~2.0~
Public coverage5.55.95.94.66.9
Employment-related coverage16.7*17.1*17.0*15.612.2
   All  
Insured all year71.70*63.64*72.91*77.86*81.57
Insured part year10.89*14.33*10.69*7.946.67
Uninsured all year17.41*22.03*16.40*14.20*11.76
      
Uninsured all year and have at least one chronic condition6.505.606.227.66.75

Source: 2006 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey—Household Component
*  indicates that the estimates are statistically different from those for individuals ages 55-64
~  indicates that the standard error for the estimate exceeds 30% of the estimate.
a  The percentages may not sum to those for any insurance since individuals can obtain more than one source of insurance.

  • Near-elderly adults who were insured in January 2006 were more likely than adults ages 25-44 to have stable coverage throughout the rest of the calendar year (Table 2).
  • Near-elderly adults who were uninsured in January 2006 were less likely to obtain employment-related coverage than adults ages 25-44.
  • Near-elderly adults were more likely to be insured all year and less likely to be insured part year or uninsured for the full year than adults ages 25-44. They were also more likely than 45-54 year olds to be insured all year and less likely to be uninsured all year.

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Access to Employer Coverage

Table 3. Individuals offered employment-related health insurance through own current job or spouse's current job

IndividualsWorkersNon-workers
Single
women
Single
men
Married
women
Married
men
Married
women
Married
men
 Proportion with offers
 Ages 25-54
Population total (millions)18.119.828.133.810.92.6
Offer from current main job0.7310.705*0.7010.749*+NANA
Any offer from self or spouse----0.895*0.853+0.648*0.47*+
 Ages 55-64
Population total (millions)3.92.15.88.14.23.1
Offer from current main job0.750.593+0.6660.703NANA
Any offer from self or spouse----0.8020.8380.3820.385

Source: 2006 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey—Household Component
* indicates that the estimates for ages 25-54 and 55-64 are statistically different at the 5% level.
+ indicates that the estimates for men and women are statistically different at the 5% level within each age/marital status category.
Individuals are classified as working if they were working at the time of their first interview in 2006.

  • Single and married working men ages 55-64 were less likely to be offered coverage from their current main job than those ages 25-54 (Table 3).
  • Near-elderly working married women were less likely to have access to coverage through themselves or a spouse than working married women ages 25-54 (80.2 percent vs. 89.5 percent).
  • Younger married men were less likely than younger married women to have access to employer-sponsored coverage. However, near-elderly married men and women had similar access to such coverage.
  • Non-working younger married men and women were more likely to have access to employer-sponsored coverage through a working spouse than near-elderly non-working married men and women.

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Sources of Employment-Related Coverage—Current Job or Retiree Coverage

  • In December 2006, 69.5 percent of near-elderly adults had employment-related coverage (Figure 1). About one-half (50.1 percent) had coverage from a current job, 16.2 percent had coverage from a retirement job, and 5.7 percent had some other form of employment-related health insurance.
  • Near-elderly adults' source of employment-related coverage differed from that for younger adults. For example, retiree coverage played a larger role in providing employment-related coverage to 55-64 year olds than to 45-54 year olds (16.2 vs. 1.4 percent) and coverage from a current job played a correspondingly smaller role (50.1 percent vs. 65.6 percent).

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Policyholder/Dependent Status for Retiree Coverage

  • Near-elderly men were more likely than near-elderly women to be a policyholder of coverage from a retirement job (14.0 percent vs. 7.9 percent), as shown in Figure 2. Near-elderly women were more likely than near-elderly men to be a dependent on such a plan (9.4 percent vs. 2.2 percent).
  • While almost no men are covered as dependents on a retiree health insurance policy with a policyholder age 65 or older, 3.2 percent of women are covered by such a plan. This represents about one-third of all women dependents of retiree coverage.

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Retiree Coverage—Employer Data

  • In 2006, only 20 percent of employees worked for an establishment that offered health insurance to retirees.
  • Employees at the largest firms were much more likely to work at an establishment that offered health insurance to retirees (Figures 3 and 4).
  • Employees in the next largest firm size category (100-999 employees) were also more likely than workers in smaller firms to work at an establishment that offered health insurance to retirees.

Table 4. Health insurance status of individuals who have access to employer-sponsored health insurance

IndividualsWorkersNon-workers
Single
women
Single
men
Married
women
Married
men
Married
women
Married men
Population (millions)
Age 25-5413.214.025.228.87.11.2
Age 55-642.91.24.76.81.61.2
 Proportion with: Any private coverage
Age 25-540.9030.872+0.929*0.912*+0.8320.668*+
Age 55-640.9310.9090.9620.942+0.8770.871
 Any employment-related coverage
Age 25-540.8970.863+0.9220.907*+0.8260.646*+
Age 55-640.930.9090.9430.9310.8550.848
 Policyholder of employment-related
Age 25-540.8830.8570.532*0.727*+0.014*0.156*+
Age 55-640.9260.9090.6040.77+0.1680.338+
 Any individual coverage
Age 25-540.01~0.013*~0.011*0.0090.008~0.034~
Age 55-640.003~00.029~0.0240.039~0.022~
 Any Medicaid
Age 25-540.0340.01+~0.009*0.0070.0250.054~
Age 55-640.017~0.037~00.003~0.021~0.024~
 Any Medicare
Age 25-540.002~0.003~0.001~0.001~0.029*0.109+
Age 55-640000.001~0.1180.154
 Any other public
Age 25-540.006~0.018*+0.022*0.019*0.0360.057~
Age 55-640.008~00.050.0480.066~0.039~
 Uninsured
Age 25-540.070.117+0.054*0.072*+0.1220.248*+
Age 55-640.0640.086~0.030.049+0.079~0.077~

Source: 2006 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey—Household Component
* indicates that the estimates for ages 25-54 and 55-64 are statistically different at the 5% level.
+ indicates that the estimates for men and women are statistically different at the 5% level within each age/marital status category.
~ indicates that the standard error for the estimate exceeds 30% of the estimate. The percentages may not sum to 100% since individuals can be covered by more than one source of insurance. Individuals are classified as having a particular source of insurance if they have that source at some point in the first half of 2006. They are classified as uninsured if they are uninsured throughout the first half of 2006. Individuals are classified as working if they were working at the time of their first interview in 2006. Individuals are considered to have access to employer-sponsored health insurance if either they or their spouse (if married) have an offer of coverage through a current job. Some observations were excluded in the sample for this table due to data requirements.

Highlights for individuals with access to coverage through a current job include the following:

  • Near-elderly working married adults and non-working married men were less likely to be uninsured than their younger counterparts (Table 4).
  • Near-elderly married men and women were more likely to be policyholders than younger married men and women.
  • Married men, regardless of age, were more likely to be policyholders of employer-sponsored coverage than married women.
  • A higher percentage of non-working near-elderly married men than women were the policyholder of coverage from a previous employer (33.8 percent vs. 16.8 percent), although both were equally likely to have employment-related coverage.

Table 5. Health insurance status of individuals who do not have access to employer-sponsored health insurance from a current job

IndividualsWorkersNon-workers
Single
women
Single
men
Married
women
Married
men
Single
women
Single
men
Married
women
Married
men
Population (millions)        
Age 25-544.95.83.05.05.04.43.81.4
Age 55-641.00.91.11.32.01.92.61.9
 Proportion with:
Any private coverage
Age 25-540.183*--0.251*0.213*.107*.153*0.219*0.241*
Age 55-640.352--0.6120.536.311.3500.640.579
 Any employment-related coverage
Age 25-540.083*--0.086*0.07*.074*.099*0.112*0.168*
Age 55-640.193--0.3980.264+.247.2770.5370.543
 Policyholder of employment-related
Age 25-540.056*--0.032~0.053*.046*.081*0.048*0.119*+
Age 55-640.139~--0.058~0.175+.239.2680.220.489+
 Any individual coverage
Age 25-540.1--0.1710.147*0.033.0570.1080.073~
Age 55-640.185--0.2290.272.071.073~0.1060.036+~
 Any Medicaid
Age 25-540.181*--0.117*0.099*.494*+.2630.201*0.209*
Age 55-640.058~--0.008~0.026~.284.2480.0760.083
 Any Medicare
Age 25-540.023~--0.006~0.003~.159*.172*0.0720.147*+
Age 55-640.051~--0.01~0.005~.280.2970.1160.26+
 Any other public
Age 25-540.021~--0.027~0.024~.021~.0380.02*~0.042~
Age 55-640.044~--0.077~0.042~.054~.043~0.090.064~
 Uninsured
Age 25-540.619~--0.611*0.665*.340*.503*+0.518*0.443*
Age 55-640.502--0.3240.421.236.2210.1880.18

Source: 2006 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey—Household Component
* indicates that the estimates for ages 25-54 and 55-64 are statistically different at the 5% level.
+ indicates that the estimates for men and women are statistically different at the 5% level within each age/marital status category.
~ indicates that the standard error for the estimate exceeds 30% of the estimate. The percentages may not sum to 100% since individuals can be covered by more than one source of insurance. Individuals are classified as having a particular source of insurance if they have that source at some point in the first half of 2006. They are classified as uninsured if they are uninsured throughout the first half of 2006. Individuals are classified as working if they were working at the time of their first interview in 2006. Individuals are considered to not have access to employer-sponsored health insurance if neither they nor their spouse (if married) have an offer of coverage through a current job. Some observations were excluded in the sample for this table due to data requirements. Estimates for single male workers were suppressed since there were fewer than 100 observations in the 55-64 age group.

Highlights for individuals with access to coverage through a current job include the following:

  • Near-elderly married individuals were less likely to be uninsured than younger adults. They were less likely to have Medicaid but more likely to have employer-sponsored coverage than younger married adults (Table 5).
  • Non-working near-elderly adults were less likely to be uninsured than those who were working. (Significance test not shown.)

Table 6. Characteristics of the insured and uninsured by age, 2006

CharacteristicsAges 25-54Ages 55-64
InsuredUninsuredInsuredUninsured
Total (millions)97.527.026.94.9
 Proportion that are:
 Sex
Male0.4740.56*^0.4840.502
Female0.5260.44*^0.5160.498
 Region
North0.1910.137*^0.20.201
Midwest0.2380.166^0.2320.165^
South0.3370.435^0.3610.402
West0.233*0.263^0.2070.232
 MSA
MSA0.849*0.8330.8180.817
 Full-time/Part-time
Works0.842*0.71*^0.6460.578^
Works < 35 hrs/wk0.1050.174^0.1120.183^
Works ≥ 35 hrs/wk0.736*0.536*^0.5340.395^
 Race/Ethnicity
Hispanic0.108*0.302*^0.0620.199^
Non-Hispanic black0.115*0.131*^0.0940.14^
Non-Hispanic white0.706*0.501*^0.7820.571^
Non-Hispanic other0.0710.0660.0620.089
 Poverty Status
Poor0.0650.199^0.0760.189^
Near poor0.0240.069^0.0250.066^
Low income0.087*0.209^0.0720.214^
Middle income0.312*0.349*^0.2480.274
High income0.51*0.174*^0.5780.258^
 Marital Status
Married0.66*0.475*^0.710.551^
Widowed0.012*0.011*0.0540.078^
Divorced0.113*0.161*^0.160.248^
Separated0.0220.042^0.020.035
Never married0.193*0.311*^0.0560.087

Source: 2006 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey—Household Component
* indicates that the estimates are statistically different from those for individuals ages 55-64 at the 5% level.
^ indicates that the estimates are statistically different at the 5% level by insured/uninsured status within each age category. Individuals are classified as insured if they have any insurance at some point in the first half of 2006, on average. They are classified as uninsured if they are uninsured throughout the first half of 2006. MSA is metropolitan statistical area.

Compared with uninsured people ages 25-54, uninsured people ages 55-64 are:
More likely to be: Female, living in the North, white, high income, married, widowed, divorced.
Less likely to be: working full time, Hispanic, middle income, never married.
Go to Table 6.

Table 7. Chronic conditions and self-reported health status of adults by insurance status: Pooled years 2003-2006

ConditionInsured All
Year
Insured
Part Year
Uninsured All
Year
Percentage of population in insurance category with: 
 Ages 25-54
Asthma4.334.052.41
Cancer3.00*2.48*1.16*
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease4.20*3.70*2.19*
Depression9.88*12.957.33*
Diabetes4.55*4.66*3.20*
Heart disease5.15*3.63*2.59*
Hypertension12.68*9.13*6.80*
Any chronic condition56.00*48.78*34.89*
Trauma17.8318.5214.88
No chronic condition44.00*51.22*65.11*
Self-reported health:   
Excellent27.88*23.66*23.31*
Very good36.30*33.53*31.53*
Good26.43*28.9131.86
Fair7.11*10.06*10.63*
Poor2.29*3.84*2.67*
Percentage of population in insurance category with:Ages 55-64
Asthma4.945.762.95
Cancer8.975.194.35
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease6.397.356.09
Depression12.6314.4510.22
Diabetes14.7014.2611.12
Heart disease14.1512.2510.17
Hypertension37.8434.0530.24
Any chronic condition80.0274.9760.37
Trauma17.8517.4014.74
No chronic condition19.9825.0339.63
Self-reported health:   
Excellent20.0614.9115.53
Very good33.6228.8826.95
Good29.5131.7134.13
Fair11.4717.0517.46
Poor5.347.445.92

Source: 2006 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey—Household Component
* indicates that the estimates for ages 25-54 and 55-64 are statistically different at the 5% level.

  • Near-elderly individuals were more likely to have at least one chronic condition and to be in fair or poor health than younger individuals, regardless of insurance category (Table 7).
  • Near-elderly individuals uninsured for the entire year were less likely to have a chronic condition than those insured all year. However, they were more likely to report being in good or fair health and less likely to be report being in excellent or very good health.

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Page last reviewed May 2009
Internet Citation: Coverage: Near-Elderly Adults, Ages 55-64: Health Insurance Coverage, Cost and A. May 2009. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/policymakers/health-initiatives/meps/mepsneareld/neareld1.html