EBRI Notes

"One-Quarter of Taxpayers Own an IRA" and "The 1996 MEPS-IC: 53 Percent of Private-Sector Establishments Offered Health Insurance"

Dec 1, 1999 12  pages


One-Quarter of Taxpayers Own an IRA—Twenty-two percent of individuals (26.1 million) reporting income in 1995 owned an individual retirement account (IRA) (this includes both contributory IRAs and rollover IRAs), according to recently released 1995 data. The average (mean) IRA balance (both contributory and rollover) was $46,762, but this figure is skewed by a relatively few large account balances; the median IRA balance for 1995 was $17,546. Relatively few taxpayers are making an annual (nonrollover) contribution to their IRAs: In 1995, just 6.4 million individuals reporting income made a contribution to their IRAs. That works out to 5.4 percent of individuals (25 percent of IRA owners). Not surprisingly, both the average and median IRA contributions are $2,000. Similar figures are not available for those making rollovers.

The 1996 MEPS-IC: 53 Percent of Private-Sector Establishments Offered Health Insurance—Employment-based health insurance is the most common form of health insurance coverage in the United States. Generally, employers offer health benefits to protect workers and their families from financial losses that can accompany unexpected serious illness or injury. These benefits also serve to promote health and increase worker productivity and act as a form of compensation to recruit and retain qualified workers. Even though health insurance is offered by employers on a voluntary basis, more than 60 percent of workers currently receive health insurance through their jobs. Others may get health insurance through a family member's job, a second job, or a previous job, or they may purchase individual plans. About 18 percent of the nonelderly U.S. population remains uninsured.