This issue brief reviews recent trends and developments in employer-sponsored retiree health coverage and examines the impact of recent legislation, such as the Medicare drug benefit and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on retiree health coverage. The report describes leading strategies employers have been pursuing or considering to limit costs for retiree health benefits. In addition, the report considers the potential implications of proposals aimed at reducing federal spending for retiree health coverage and costs.
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This primer explains key elements of the Medicare program, which now provides health coverage to 55 million people — including 46 million people age 65 and older and another 9 million younger adults with permanent disabilities. It looks at the characteristics of the Medicare population, what benefits are covered, how much people with Medicare pay for their benefits and the program’s overall costs and future financing challenges.