“Characteristics of the Population With Consumer-Driven and High-Deductible Health Plans, 2005–2014,” and “Examining the New Income Measures in the Current Population Survey”

May 2015, Vol. 5, No. 1
Paperback, 16 pp.
PDF, 754 kb
Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2015

Download Notes PDF pdf

Executive Summary

Characteristics of the Population With Consumer-Driven and High-Deductible Health Plans, 2005–2014

  • The populations of adults within consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs), high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) and traditional health plans were each split about 50–50 between men and women in 2014.
  • CDHP enrollees were less likely than those with traditional coverage to be between the ages of 21 and 34 in 2014, and more likely to be ages 45?54.
  • CDHP enrollees were more likely than traditional-plan enrollees to be in households with $150,000 or more in income in every year except 2006, 2009 and 2010. They were also more likely to be in households with $100,000–$149,999 in income in most years. They were roughly twice as likely as individuals with traditional coverage to have college or postgraduate educations in nearly all years of the survey.

Examining the New Income Measure in the Current Population Survey

  • The U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS) is a primary source of income data for those whose ages are associated with being retired. In response to research showing that the survey has misclassified and under-reported certain types of income, the 2014 CPS included a redesigned set of questions aimed at better capturing income from individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and 401(k)-type plans, among other goals.
  • This article finds the new measures of income in the CPS identify significantly more income (and a much larger percentage of income) coming from IRAs and 401(k)-type plans. Compared with the estimated amount under the traditional-income questions for 2013, the redesigned questions have resulted in an estimated total annual income 9.1 percent larger for those ages 65 or older, an aggregate amount of almost an additional $133 billion. Retirement income is 27.9 percent larger, an aggregate difference of almost $71 billion.
  • However, Social Security remains the overwhelmingly predominant source of income for those ages 65 or older. The redesigned CPS still finds that over 60 percent of individuals in the two lowest-income quartiles receive more than 90 percent of their total income from Social Security.