Prescription Drugs: Continued Rapid Growth

Pension Coverage: Examining CPS Data

September 2000, Vol. 21, No. 9
Paperback, 16 pp.
PDF, 88 kb
Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2000

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Executive Summary

Prescription Drugs: Continued Rapid Growth—TPrescription drug expenditures have come to
the forefront of the debate over health care in the United States. While expenditure growth has slowed for the other major
sources of health care--hospital services and physician services--prescription drug costs have continued rising at
double-digit rates, as they did throughout the 1990s. Consequently, many employers are planning to revise or have
revised their drug benefits by changing copayment levels and/or introducing formularies (lists of preferred or covered drugs in a
drug benefit plan), or refining those already in use. This article summarizes the latest national health expenditure data on
prescription drug expenditures, with a particular focus on the components that have contributed to the growth in these
expenditures. In addition, it examines recent features that have been added to employers' drug benefit plans.

Pension Coverage: Examining CPS Data—Annual estimates of pension coverage  for
wage and salary workers are not well documented. Two supplements to the U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Survey (CPS)--one conducted annually in March and the other every other year in February--include questions pertaining to pension coverage. These surveys ask different questions, and neither examines pension plan types (defined benefit or defined contribution). However, they provide some insight into overall pension coverage on an annual basis across various demographic and employer characteristics. This article uses both CPS supplements to estimate pension coverage for all wage and salary workers. The March 1993-1999 surveys provide pension coverage estimates across various demographic and employer categories. The February surveys from 1995, 1997, and 1999 provide overall pension coverage estimates as well as data on why a worker is not covered (ineligible versus choosing not to participate) when working for an employer that sponsors a plan.