Retirement behavior of cancer survivors: role of health insurance.

TitleRetirement behavior of cancer survivors: role of health insurance.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of PublicationForthcoming
AuthorsBradley, CJ, Owsley, KM
JournalJournal of Cancer Survivorship
Date Published2022 Sep 05
ISSN Number1932-2267
KeywordsCancer, Health Insurance, Labor Supply, Retirement

PURPOSE: Workers who rely on employment for health insurance may be unable to reduce work during and following treatment for a serious health condition, potentially harming their health in retirement. In this study, we examine the influence of retiree and employment-contingent insurance on the retirement and health of workers diagnosed with cancer.

METHODS: This longitudinal cohort study used 2000-2018 Health and Retirement Study data to examine changes in employment, weekly hours worked, and health status measures following a cancer diagnosis. We selected respondents who reported a new cancer diagnosis (n = 354) and a matched, non-cancer sample (n = 1770), restricting both samples to those employed and younger than age 63.

RESULTS: Following a cancer diagnosis, women with retiree health insurance were 18.6 percentage points less likely to work (95% CI: - 36.3 to - 1.0; p < 0.05) relative to women with employer health insurance, but no retiree insurance. Employed women with cancer but without employment-contingent health insurance increased weekly hours worked by 34% relative to similar non-cancer controls. Men and women with a cancer diagnosis and without employment-contingent health or retiree insurance were also less likely to work (p < 0.05). Among those who stopped working, respondents with cancer and employment-contingent health insurance reported better health status than respondents without employment-contingent health insurance.

CONCLUSIONS: Cancer survivors with employer and retiree health insurance leave the workforce earlier and report better health status when they stop working than those without equivalent insurance.

IMPLICATIONS FOR CANCER SURVIVORS: Policies to support health insurance outside of employment may allow cancer survivors to retire earlier and may have positive health benefits.

Citation Key12664
PubMed ID36063307
Grant ListP30CA46934 / / Division of Cancer Prevention, National Cancer Institute /