A longitudinal study of health insurance coverage between the ages of 59 and 68

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Christine Himes


Health insurance coverage, Aging

Subject Categories

Demography, Population, and Ecology | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology


The numbers of near aged uninsured and aged underinsured have increased over the last decade, and these numbers are likely to continue to increase in the future. With a focus on health coverage erosion and lifecourse perspectives, this study examines the dynamics of health insurance coverage as people move from being near aged to aged. This project provides strong evidence of the importance of Medicare to the near aged and aged. Medicare is a safety net for the near aged uninsured, providing basic coverage to vulnerable groups that have long-term barriers to health insurance coverage, especially employer-based coverage. Medicare is also replacement coverage for the aged that lose employer-based insurance, allowing them to escape being underinsured. Finally, Medicare is protection for people when they leave the labor force or have a marriage end. The findings from this study provide strong evidence for the need for a Medicare buy-in program and more affordable and comprehensive Medicare supplemental plans.


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