'Social Security an Increasing Source of Income as Population Ages,' and 'ERISA Pre-emption and Health Care Reform: A History Lesson'

May 2007, Vol. 28, No. 5
Paperback, 12 pp.
PDF, 725 kb
Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2007

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Executive Summary

Income of the Elderly Population Age 65 and Over, 2005


Latest data: This article reviews the latest available data on the older population's income (age 65 and older), how it has changed over time, and the elderly's reliance on these sources. • Social Security still dominant: In 2005, Social Security was the largest source of income for those currently age 65 and older, accounting for 40.1 percent of their income on average. Pension and annuities income was 19.3 percent, income from assets 13.6 percent, and income from earnings 24.8 percent.


Income levels: The median (mid-point) income level of the elderly population increased from $12,074 (in constant 2005 dollars) in 1974 to $15,422 in 2005. The average income of the elderly increased from $17,037 in 1974 to $24,418 in 2005.


Gender differences: Elderly women get more of their income from Social Security (50 percent of income) than elderly men (33.3 percent). Elderly men derive a larger share of their income from employment-based sources, such as earnings (30.5 percent) than elderly women (16.4 percent). Elderly women are deriving more income from employment-based sources over time, reflecting the growing presence of women in the work force.


ERISA Pre-emption and Health Care Reform: A History Lesson


A voice from the past: About 15 years ago, EBRI published an Issue Brief on the topic, “Health Care Reform: Managed Competition and Beyond.” The publication included an article on ERISA pre-emption by the late Michael S. Gordon, who, as minority counsel to former Sen. Jacob Javits (R-NY), was deeply involved in the writing and enacting of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1973 (ERISA). His position and experience made him one of the nation’s most knowledgeable individuals about that law.


Gordon’s article reprinted: With health care reform and ERISA pre-emption of state health insurance regulation again topics of debate, EBRI is reprinting Gordon’s article. Now, as then, his observations provide both historical and fresh perspective on the conflicts over ERISA and federal pre-emption.