“Debt of the Elderly and Near Elderly, 1992–2010,” and “Employer and Worker Contributions to Health Reimbursement Arrangements and Health Savings Accounts, 2006–2012”

February 2013, Vol. 34, No. 2
Paperback, 28 pp.
PDF, 1,833 kb
Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2013

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Executive Summary

Debt of the Elderly and Near Elderly, 1992–2010



  • The percentage of American families with heads age 55 or older that have debt held steady at around 63 percent from 2007–2010. Furthermore, the percentage of these families with debt payments greater than 40 percent of income—a traditional threshold measure of debt load trouble—decreased in 2010 to 8.5 percent from 9.9 percent in 2007.
  • However, total debt payments as a percentage of income increased from 10.8 percent in 2007 to 11.4 percent in 2010, and average debt increased from $73,727 in 2007 to $75,082 in 2010, while debt as a percentage of assets increased from 7.4 percent in 2007 to 8.5 percent in 2010.
  • Housing debt was the major component of debt for families with a head age 55 or older. The debt levels among those with housing debt have obvious and serious implications for the future retirement security of these Americans, perhaps most significantly that these families are potentially at risk of losing what is typically their most important asset—their home.

Employer and Worker Contributions to Health Reimbursement Arrangements and Health Savings Accounts, 2006–2012



  • This report presents findings from the 2012 EBRI/MGA Consumer Engagement in Health Care Survey, as well as earlier surveys, examining the availability of health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) and health-savings-account (HSA)-eligible plans (consumer-driven health plans, or CDHPs). It also looks at employer and individual contribution behavior.
  • The percentage of workers reporting that their employers contribute to the account increased. Among those with employer contributions, overall contribution levels for individuals with employee-only coverage increased in 2012, and have been increasing since 2009.
  • Workers with employee-only coverage did not increase their own contributions, but those with family coverage did.