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Symposium 2011

Improving Retirement and Health Choices

The Challenge

It is widely accepted that the ageing population poses cost challenges for society. Increased longevity raises the health care and other costs of supporting the old precisely when labor forces in many countries are shrinking or growing more slowly than in the past. Much of the debate on how to handle these problems has focused on either scaling back benefits or somehow increasing the degree of preparedness to pay these costs through more savings today. Yet both options have proved difficult to advance.

Given pressures on the budgets of governments and private employers, as well as the difficulty of cutting benefits, it is important to examine new structures of benefits and decision-making.

One inefficiency is that many pension and related health care systems offer individuals little choice, yet individuals and households have heterogeneous needs.

Are the existing structures of health and retirement systems the best possible? Could a more productive system be designed that uses scarce resources more effectively? What is the state of the evidence on the degree of heterogeneity in individual choice? How can people be offered more choices of levels of benefits and risk?

Are account-based systems an effective way of allowing more choice? How can it be ensured that more effective choices are made as result? If individuals are permitted more flexibility, outcomes will also be heterogeneous, so how can society manage the implications of differing outcomes? What other issues are there allowing individuals more choice?

    Solutions

    Solution
    Symposium 2011

    To reduce costs, increase the use of information technology in healthcare delivery.

    To reduce costs, increase the use of information technology in healthcare delivery.

    To reduce costs, increase the use of information technology in healthcare delivery.

    Polity, Business
    Solution
    Symposium 2011

    Share information publicly on the decisions people take on healthcare and retirement choices.

    Share information publicly on the decisions people take on healthcare and retirement choices.

    Share information publicly on the decisions people take on healthcare and retirement choices.

    Polity, Business, Civil Society
    Solution
    Symposium 2011

    Soft pressure for provision—nudging retirement schemes.

    Soft pressure for provision—nudging retirement schemes.

    Soft pressure for provision—nudging retirement schemes.

    Polity, Business
    Solution
    Symposium 2011

    Introduce resource-tested transfer payments at retirement.

    Introduce resource-tested transfer payments at retirement.

    Introduce resource-tested transfer payments at retirement.

    Polity
    Solution
    Symposium 2011

    Introduce public benchmark products from which private competitors can innovate.

    Introduce public benchmark products from which private competitors can innovate.

    Introduce public benchmark products from which private competitors can innovate.

    Polity, Business

    Proposals

    Proposal
    Symposium 2011

    Improving Retirement and Health Choices

    There are two key obstacles to improving retirement and health choices: The underlying issues are complex, technical and relatively abstract so require both engagement from the individual and speciali ...

    There are two key obstacles to improving retirement and health choices: The underlying issues are complex, technical and relatively abstract so require both engagement from the individual and specialist support. Provision of specialist support and advice is difficult because of the heterogeneous nature of individual needs, the inherent privacy of the decisions and the relative lack of objective comparative data to inform decisions. One possible response to these important obstacles is to essentially assume them away by defaulting individuals into a common strategy in which they essentially save more and otherwise have more insurance coverage than they had before.

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Proposal
    Symposium 2011

    Improving Retirement and Health Choices

    1. What solutions do you have to promote better decisions by consumers and better information on choice? Law should ensure minimum information about health insurance, like medical procedures, treatmen ...

    1. What solutions do you have to promote better decisions by consumers and better information on choice? Law should ensure minimum information about health insurance, like medical procedures, treatment costs and contract´s additional limits. Legal protection of consumers may encourage insurance and health companies to provide intelligible and necessary information; It is known that in the Modern State it is often difficult to dispose public resources to finance all activities and services demanded by the society, so that many of those needs usually have to be conducted by the private sector. A regulation of this relation, made by the government, is

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society
    Proposal
    Symposium 2011

    Some ideas on managing health and retirement issues in an era of demographic transition

    1. Healthy ageing:I was struck by the focus on “cost” in the Challenges write-up. Interventions which allow people to extend quality life, and remain productive in the marketplace as well as in in ...

    1. Healthy ageing:I was struck by the focus on “cost” in the Challenges write-up. Interventions which allow people to extend quality life, and remain productive in the marketplace as well as in informal situations for longer, have considerable potential, and will not only reduce “cost”, but also improve well-being. But delivering on this requires both government intervention and changes in individual behaviour. There is no question that human behaviour can be changed on a large scale. The use of seat belts, and changes in drink driving, provide examples where government intervention has changed behaviour. In these examples, laws and regulations

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society

    Background Paper

    Background Paper
    Symposium 2011

    Improving Health and Retirement Choices

    The last decade has witnessed a paradigm shift in retirement and health care benefits, with employers shifting an increasing share of the risks involved to employees. While tomorrow's retirees wil ...

    The last decade has witnessed a paradigm shift in retirement and health care benefits, with employers shifting an increasing share of the risks involved to employees.

    While tomorrow's retirees will remain dependent on employer-provided plans, they must also save more themselves to ensure a comfortable standard of living in retirement.

    Rising health care costs are threatening the financial health of governments and employers, and are making many workers nervous, too. We are seeing more complex health insurance products, rising copayments and an increased use of incentives to discourage over-consumption of health care goods and services.

    This analysis provides an overview of health care and retirement benefits from the perspectives of both firms and workers. We discuss current designs and their shortcomings, and then propose effective retirement and health care designs for the future.

    Polity, Academia, Business, Civil Society