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Chapter 18

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Chapter 18

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  1. Chapter 18 Social Insurance

  2. Agenda Social Insurance Basics Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) Medicare Unemployment Workers Compensation

  3. Reasons for Social Insurance Social insurance programs are necessary for several reasons: To help solve complex social problems To provide coverage for perils that are difficult to insure privately To provide a base of economic security to the population

  4. Basic Characteristics of Social Insurance Social insurance programs have certain characteristics that distinguish them from other government insurance programs: Most programs are compulsory This makes it easier to provide a floor of income to the population It also reduces adverse selection Programs are designed to provide a floor of income Programs pay benefits based largely on social adequacy rather than individual equity The benefits are heavily weighted in favor of certain groups, such as low-income persons, large families, and retirees

  5. Basic Characteristics of Social Insurance Benefits are loosely related to the workers’ earnings Programs, benefits, and benefit formulas are prescribed by law A formal means test is not required A means test involves disclosing income and assets Full funding of benefits is unnecessary For example, it is not necessary to fully fund Social Security because workers will always enter the program and support it Programs are designed to be financially self-supporting Programs should be almost completely financed from the earmarked contributions of covered employees

  6. Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) Commonly known as Social Security, OASDI is the most important social insurance program in the US Enacted in 1935, it covers more than 9 out of 10 workers Virtually all private-sector employees, and a majority of state and local government employees are covered under the Social Security Program

  7. Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) A worker becomes eligible for benefits by attaining an insured status: To attain a fully insured status, a worker must have 40 credits In 2006, a credit is earned for each $970 of covered earnings A maximum of 4 credits can be earned each year You are currently insured if you have earned at least 6 credits in the past 13 calendar quarters The number of credits required to be disability insured depends on the age when you become disabled Eligibility for certain benefits depends on insured status: Fully insured: retirement and survivor benefits Currently insured: survivor benefits Disability insured: disability benefits

  8. OASDI: Retirement Benefits Social security retirement benefits are an important source of income for most retired workers For persons both in 1937 or earlier, full retirement age for unreduced benefits is age 65 The age will increase gradually to 67 Workers and their spouses can retire at age 62 with actuarially reduced benefits More than half of the OASDI beneficiaries apply for retirement benefits before the full retirement age Monthly retirement benefits can be paid to retired workers and their dependents

  9. Exhibit 18.1 Social Security Full Retirement Age and Reduction in Benefits by Age

  10. OASDI: Retirement Benefits The monthly retirement benefit is based on the worker’s primary insurance amount (PIA) The PIA is based on the worker’s average indexed monthly earnings (AIME) Indexing results in a relatively constant replacement rate so that workers retiring today and in the future will have about the same proportion of their work earnings replaced by OASDI benefits The AIME is based on a weighted benefit formula which weights the benefits heavily in favor of low-income groups Social Security actuaries calculate each year the indexing factors that are used to determine the worker’s average indexed monthly earnings

  11. Exhibit 18.2 Estimated Annual Retirement Benefits1 for Retired Workers with Various Pre-Retirement Earnings (2008–2030)

  12. OASDI: Retirement Benefits A delayed retirement credit is available if you delay receiving retirement benefits beyond the full retirement age Cash benefits are automatically adjusted each year for changes in the cost of living The program has an earnings test that can result in a reduction or loss of monthly benefits for workers with earned incomes above certain annual limits Beneficiaries who have attained the full retirement age or beyond can earn any amount and receive full OASDI benefits To encourage private savings and investments to supplement the benefits, the earnings test does not apply to investment income, dividends, interest, rents or annuity payments

  13. Insight 18.1 To Wait or Not to Wait? Options for Answering the Social Security Question

  14. OASDI: Survivor Benefits Survivor benefits can be paid to the dependents of a deceased worker who is either fully or currently insured Survivors include: Unmarried children younger than age 18 Unmarried disabled children Surviving spouse with children younger than age 16 Surviving spouse age 60 or older Disabled widow or widower, ages 50-59 Dependent parents The benefits provide a substantial amount of financial protection to families

  15. OASDI: Disability Benefits Disability income benefits can be paid to disabled workers who meet certain eligibility requirements The benefits provide protection against the loss of income during a long-term disability The worker must meet a five-month waiting period, and satisfy the definition of disability The worker must have a physical or mental condition that prevents him or her from doing any substantial gainful activity and is expected to last at least 12 months or is expected to result in death

  16. OASDI: Disability Benefits Major groups eligible to receive OASDI disability income benefits include: A disabled worker under the full retirement age The spouse of a disabled worker Unmarried children of the disabled worker, if under age 18 Unmarried children age 18 or older who become severely disabled before age 22

  17. Taxation and Financing of OASDI Benefits Some beneficiaries who receive monthly cash benefits must pay an income tax on part of the benefits The amount depends on the level of your combined income, which is the sum of your adjusted gross income, tax-free interest, and ½ of your Social Security benefits Social Security benefits are financed by a payroll tax paid by employees, employers, and the self-employed In 2009, a worker paid a payroll tax of 6.2% on covered earnings up to a maximum of $106,800

  18. Medicare Medicare covers the medical expenses of most persons age 65 and older The program also includes prescription drug plans and health care plans of private insurers Beneficiaries can select among an array of plans including: The original Medicare plan Medicare Advantage plans Other Medicare health plans Medicare prescription drug plans

  19. Medicare Under the original Medicare plan: Beneficiaries can elect any provider that accepts Medicare patients Medicare pays its share of the bill, and the beneficiary pays the balance The original program provides benefits in two parts: Hospital Insurance (Part A) provides coverage for inpatient hospital stays and other services including skilled nursing facility care, home health care, hospice care, and blood transfusions Hospitals are reimbursed for inpatient services under a prospective payment system A flat amount is paid for each service based on its diagnosis-related group (DRG)

  20. Medicare Medical Insurance (Part B) is a voluntary program that covers physicians’ fees and related medical services Covered services include physician services, clinical laboratory services, home health care, outpatient hospital services, and blood Beneficiaries must pay a monthly premium for the benefits Currently beneficiaries with annual incomes under certain levels pay 25% of the cost of the program, and the federal government pays the rest A means test will be applied beginning in 2007 The beneficiary must meet an annual Part B deductible The program pays 80% of the Medicare-approved amount for most physician services, outpatient therapy, preventive services and durable medical equipment Payments to physicians are made on an assigned or nonassigned basis

  21. Medicare Medicare hospital insurance (Part A) is financed by a payroll tax paid by covered employees, employers, and the self-employed Payroll tax is 1.45 percent on all covered earnings The program is subsidized by a small amount of general revenues Medical insurance (Part B) is financed by monthly premiums and the general revenues of the federal government

  22. Medicare Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C) are private health plans that are part of the Medicare program If beneficiaries choose this alternative, Medicare pays a set monthly amount to the private plan Most plans provide extra benefits and have lower co-payments than the original Medicare plan Plans include: Medicare PPOs Medicare HMOs Medicare Private Fee-for-service plans Medicare Medical Savings Account Plans Medicare Special Needs plans

  23. Medicare Under a Medicare PPO, beneficiaries can generally see any doctor or provider that accepts Medicare patients Members do not need a referral from a primary care doctor to see a specialist Medicare HMOs are managed care plans operated by private insurers The plan may require members to choose a primary care physician and get a referral to see a specialist If the plan covers prescription drugs, members must pay a co-payment or coinsurance charge for each covered prescription Under a Medicare Private Fee-for-service plan, the private company, rather than Medicare, decides how much it will pay and the amounts members must pay for the services provided Under a Medicare Medical Savings Account Plan, Medicare deposits money that the beneficiary can use to pay health-care costs A Medicare Special Needs plan provides more focused care for specific groups of people, such as those with chronic illnesses

  24. Medicare Medicare beneficiaries have other choices for coverage besides the Advantage Plans Under a Medicare Cost plan, members receive care from primary care doctors and hospitals that are part of the network Services obtained outside the network are covered under the original Medicare plan, but members must pay the Part A and Part B coinsurance and deductibles Demonstrations and pilot programs that test and evaluate recommendations for improving Medicare A PACE program combines medical, social, and long-term care services for the frail elderly

  25. Medicare Prescription Drug Plans Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D) is available to all beneficiaries Beneficiaries in the original Medicare plan can add prescription drug coverage by joining a stand-alone plan Monthly premiums depend on the specific plan chosen Plans vary in the cost and types of drugs covered Plans must provide at least standard coverage Beneficiaries pay part of the cost of prescription drugs, and Medicare pays part of the cost For 2009, the average monthly premium for the private plans is an estimated $28. The cost sharing provisions are complex Costs are reduced for low-income beneficiaries

  26. Exhibit 18.3Example of Cost-Sharing Provisions Under Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage (2009)

  27. Medigap Insurance Medicare beneficiaries can purchase a Medigap policy to cover part or all of medical expenses not paid by Medicare The policies are sold by private insurers, and are strictly regulated by federal law There are 12 plans (A-L) which offer different sets of benefits

  28. OASDI: Problems and Issues The program is running an annual surplus, but the OASDI trust funds will soon experience serious financial problems Projected OASDI tax income will begin to fall short of outlays in 2017 The program can be actuarially balanced over the next 75 years in various ways, including: An immediate increase of 14% in payroll tax revenues An immediate reduction in benefits of 12% Recent proposed changes include: Using progressive indexing to determine benefits Move up scheduled increases in the full retirement age Reduce benefits for future retirees across the board Increase the OASDI taxable wage earnings base Invest part of the trust fund assets in private investments

  29. OASDI: Problems and Issues The general revenues of the federal government could be used to fund part of the program However, the federal budget is currently running a large deficit because of the war in Iraq and disaster payments for Hurricane Katrina, and the 2008-2009 federal stimulus expenditures Reliance on general revenue financing to reduce the long-range deficit is unlikely

  30. Medicare Financial Crisis Medicare Part A has serious financial problems The projected 75-year deficit in the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund (HI) is not 3.54% of taxable payroll The fund is projected to be exhausted by 2019 Efforts to hold down costs include: Reducing payments to hospitals and physicians Limiting spending on specified services Implementing a diagnosis-related group method for reimbursing hospitals

  31. Insight 18.2 How Would You Reform Social Security?

  32. Unemployment Insurance The federal and state governments provide unemployment insurance Programs pay weekly cash benefits to workers who are involuntarily unemployed Cash benefits are paid during periods of short-term involuntary unemployment Applicants are encouraged through local employment offices to seek employment Unemployment benefits help stabilize the economy during recessionary periods

  33. Unemployment Insurance Most private firms, state and local governments, and nonprofit organizations are covered for unemployment benefits Private firms are subject to the federal unemployment tax To be eligible, an unemployed worker must: Have qualifying wages and employment during the base year Be able and available for work Be actively seeking work Be free from disqualification Serve a one-week waiting period

  34. Unemployment Insurance Benefits paid depend on the worker’s past wages, within certain limits Most states use a formula and pay a fraction of the worker’s high quarter wages The maximum duration of regular benefits is limited to 26 weeks in most states Under the extended-benefits program, an additional 13 weeks of benefits is paid during periods of high unemployment Programs are financed largely by payroll taxes paid by employers on the covered wages of employees For 2009, covered employers paid a federal payroll tax of 6.2% on the first $7000 of annual wages Experience rating is also used, by which firms with favorable employment records pay reduced tax rates

  35. Unemployment Insurance In response to the recent financial crisis, the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program was created in 2008 The program provides up to 20 weeks of federally-funded benefits to eligible unemployed workers who have exhausted their regular state unemployment benefits Other important problems include: State unemployment compensation programs do not cover all unemployed persons State fund balances are inadequate A high percentage of claimants are exhausting their regular state unemployment benefits

  36. Workers Compensation Workers compensation is a social insurance program that provides medical care, cash benefits, and rehabilitation services to workers who are disabled from job-related accidents or disease Under the common law of industrial accidents (1837), workers injured on the job had to sue their employers and prove negligence before they could collect damages Under the contributory negligence doctrine, injured workers could not collect damages if they contributed in any way to the injury Under the fellow-servant doctrine, the injured worker could not collect damages if the injury resulted from the negligence of a fellow worker Under the assumption-of-risk doctrine, the injured worker could not collect if he or she had advanced knowledge of the dangers of the occupation

  37. Workers Compensation The enactment of employer liability laws between 1885 and 1910 improved the legal position of injured workers But, workers still had to sue their employers to collect for their injuries Most states passed workers compensation laws by 1920 Workers compensation is based on the fundamental principle of liability without fault; the employer is held absolutely liable for job-related injuries or diseases suffered by the workers, regardless of who is at fault Employees do not have to sue their employers

  38. Workers Compensation Objectives of state workers compensation laws include: To provide broad coverage of employees for job-related accidents and disease To provide substantial protection against the loss of income To provide sufficient medical care and rehabilitation services to injured workers To encourage firms to reduce job-related accidents To reduce litigation

  39. Workers Compensation Workers compensation laws provide four benefits: Medical care generally is covered in full with no limitations Disability-income benefits can be paid after the disabled worker satisfies a waiting period Death benefits can be paid to eligible survivors if the worker dies as a result of a job-related accident or disease All states provide rehabilitation services to restore disabled workers to productive employment

  40. Workers Compensation State workers compensation programs face numerous problems: Medical costs as a percentage of total losses have increased dramatically from about 40% in the 1980s to almost 60% today Workers compensation insurers are sensitive to catastrophic exposures both natural and man-made Attorney involvement in workers compensation claims increases claims costs by 12-15 percent Court decisions have eroded the exclusive remedy doctrine, which states that workers compensation benefits should be the sole and exclusive remedy for injured workers