In April 2004, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) voted to allow employers to reduce or eliminate health benefits for retirees when they become eligible for Medicare at age 65. Between April 30 and May 4, 2004, AARP fielded a nationally representative survey of 3,142 people aged 50 or older to investigate the reaction of the 50+ population to this ruling. It was found that more than 7 in 10 (73%) people aged 50 and over disagreed with the EEOC's ruling, including strong majorities of both AARP members (74%) and nonmembers (71%). This strong disagreement was evident across all age segments and other demographic segments within the 50+ population. Specifically, age did not seem to be related to opinions about the EEOC ruling among AARP members. In fact, AARP members younger than 65 were slightly more likely to strongly disagree with the ruling.
The survey included arguments for and against the EEOC's ruling. Some of the key findings are as follows:
- Less than one-quarter (24%) of the 50+ population agreed with the argument that "employers that provide retiree health benefits should be able to save money by offering more generous benefits only to younger retirees not eligible for Medicare."
- Conversely, almost 8 in 10 (78%) agreed that "it is unfair and discriminatory for employers to reduce or eliminate health benefits for its retirees aged 65 or older while offering these benefits to its younger retirees."
The report was prepared by Jeffrey Love of Strategic Issues Research, Knowledge Management, AARP. For more information, contact Jeffrey Love at 202/434-6279. (12 pages)
Discounts & Benefits
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