Trends in Health Care Spending and Health Insurance

December 2008

Recent trends in health care and health insurance suggest market pressures continue to transform the market for health care. Rapidly rising costs of coverage for health insurance puts tremendous pressure on both private and public insurance systems, resulting in a realignment of health care risk burdens between employers, households, and government. This paper examines how these trends may impact the market for retiree health insurance, with particular focus on the academic market. Overall, the trends suggest that ensuring the continued provision of retiree health insurance as a employment based benefit requires a consolidated approach incorporating better pre-funding of employment based insurance, more cost-conscience (consumer driven) vehicles for providing the benefit, and a renewed partnership between all stakeholders regarding the allocation of financing burdens.