Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Thursday, June 27, 2013

Holden says health insurance necessary for secure retirement

Karen Holden

Professor emeritus Karen Holden comments on policy changes for secure retirements on a web site published by a credit card company.

She was among 16 retirement policy experts asked what would be the single most important policy change to assure a more secure retirement. Full implementation of the Affordable Care Act is essential for people retiring comfortably, she says. "Medicare provides universal coverage at age 65, but medical care costs or the concern about potential costs reduces the ability to save for retirement including in tax-deferred accounts that would be inaccessible to cover medical care costs."

Holden also notes that government policies need to increase economic growth. "Jobs are clearly critical for retirement savings–one can't save without a well-paying job," she says.

Increased flexibility in retirement plans would be a valuable policy change, she adds, but policies that enable savings are key to retirement security. The government should mandate that employers automatically enroll employees in retirement plans and leave it to the employees to ask to be excluded. Another improvement would be to allow distributions from retirement accounts be partially transformed into annuities.