Tag: "life expectancy"

Oregon Helps Reduce Health Care Costs, and Other Links

Is Retirement Hazardous To Your Health?

This is Peter Orszag:

Our common perception is that retirement is a time when we can relax and take better care of ourselves after stressful careers. But what if work itself is beneficial to our health, as several recent studies suggest?

The evidence is mixed, but:

Examining the growing educational gradient in life expectancy from 1997 to 2006, Montez and Zajacova focused on white women ages 45 to 84. In addition to differential trends in smoking by education, they concluded that among these women “employment was, in and of itself, an important contributor.” The life expectancy of less-educated women was being shortened by their lower employment rates compared with those of highly educated women.

Will Longer Life Expectancy Bankrupt Medicare?

Health Care Expenditures in the Last Two Years of Life

Health Care Expenditures in the Last Two Years of Life

As this graph shows, the total cost of nursing home care during a person’s last two years is extremely sensitive to that person’s longevity and rises steadily as that persons attained age increases. But the cost of that patient to Medicare during those final two years actually decreases. As the article concluded, “longevity after the age of 65 has a larger effect on the costs of nursing home care […] than on the costs of services covered by Medicare.” Thus, the increasing number of persons eligible for Medicare in the future will certainly increase that program’s costs, but their increasing longevity is itself a benign factor. Or as Harvard economist David Cutler concluded, “longer life in itself will not add to Medicare costs.”

Richard Kaplan at the Health Care Blog.

Immigrants Are Healthier until They Stay Here a While

As early as the 1970s, researchers found that immigrants lived several years longer than American-born whites even though they tended to have less education and lower income, factors usually associated with worse health. That gap has grown since 1980…Evidence is mounting that the second generation does worse. Exploratory estimates based on data from 2007 to 2009…show that Hispanic immigrants live 2.9 years longer than American-born Hispanics.

[One study] found that immigrants had at least a 20 percent lower overall cancer mortality rate than their American-born counterparts.

Mortality rates from heart disease were about 16 percent lower, for kidney disease 18 percent lower, and for liver cirrhosis 24 percent lower.

This is from The NYT.

What Causes Longer Life Expectancy?

“The best childhood personality predictor of longevity was conscientiousness — the qualities of a prudent, persistent, well-organized person,” according to the two professors…

“It was not cheerfulness and it was not having a sociable personality that predicted long life across the many ensuing decades,” she and Friedman wrote in their book. “Certain other factors were also relevant, but the prudent, dependable children lived the longest. The strength of this finding was unexpected, but it proved to be a very important and enduring one.”

Book, book review, and article on the book. HT: Arnold Kling.

Are Health Outcomes Becoming More Equal?

The haves are those who enjoy great health into their 90s. The have-nots are those who suffer from serious health problems and do not live to see adulthood. As we pointed out in a recent study, among those Americans who were born in 1975, the unluckiest 1 percent died in infancy, while the luckiest 1 percent can expect to live to age 105 or longer. Now let’s fast forward to those born in 2012. The bottom percentile of this cohort can expect to survive until age 18. At the other end of the spectrum, the luckiest 1 percent can expect to live to age 108. That’s a much bigger gain in life expectancy among the have-nots than among the haves. Of course, life expectancy is but one measure of health and well-being, but understanding these trends offers a more complete picture than considering income alone.

The American. HT: Tyler Cowen.

Working Longer

An increase in the average retirement age from 64 to 68 would save about 20 percent in social security payments since the average number of years in retirement would be cut by about 20%. Similarly, an increase in retirement age to 70 would save about 25 percent in social security retirement benefits. Either change would also add significantly to revenue from social security taxes since workers would be employed for several additional years. Therefore, such increases in age of eligibility for social security benefits would go a long way toward solving the looming social security financial “crisis.”

More on this issue in The Becker-Posner Blog.

Gene Steuerle: Raising the Retirement Age is a Progressive Reform

On the front page of the Washington Post on March 11, 2013, Michael Fletcher connects different the life expectancies of the poor and rich to the debate over whether Social Security should provide more years of retirement support as people live longer. He mistakenly leaves the impression that adjusting the retirement age for increases in life expectancy hurts the poor the most. In fact, such adjustments take more away from the rich. Let me explain how.

Source: The Government We Deserve blog.

Research Results I Wish I Hadn’t Seen

  • Female mortality rates increased in 42.8 percent of counties in the United States during 1992–2006.
  • The average physician will lose $43,743 over five years after adopting electronic health records.
  • Cost savings from workplace wellness incentives reflect cost shifting to unhealthy workers.

More on these issues in the Health Affairs blog.

Increased Life Expectancy, and Other Links