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A report covering plan design and legislative changes Volume 51, Number 8
Enhancements To Long-Term Care Financing Needed As Population Ages
As the baby boom generation enters retirement age, Congress and policymakers should consider taking action to improve the financing and delivery of long-term care in the United States, a study released by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College has recommended.
While middle-class people have the option of purchasing private long-term care insurance, the demand for this type of coverage has, Gleckman noted, "been modest due to the cost and complexity of policies and the reluctance of consumers to pre-fund the disabilities of old age."
Compensation And Health Care Costs Continue To Climb
Employee compensation costs averaged $28.46 per hour worked in March 2008, up from $28.11 per hour in December 2007 and $27.82 per hour one year previously, in March 2007, according to a quarterly report released by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Averaging $19.83 per hour worked, wages and salaries accounted for 69.7% of compensation costs in March 2008, while benefits, averaging $8.63 per hour, accounted for 30.3%. By comparison, benefits accounted for 30.2% of total compensation in December 2007, and 30% in March 2007.
Minority Women Face Additional Challenges In Saving For Retirement
African-American and Hispanic women over the age of 65 are twice as likely as older white women to have retirement income levels below the poverty line, largely because minority women tend to earn less while working, according to a report published by the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER), in conjunction with Mothers’ Voices Georgia and MANA, A National Latina Organization. Written by WISER president Cindy Hounsell, the report, “Your Future Paycheck: Minority Women and Retirement Income,” analyzed the shortfalls in retirement savings among minority women and discussed initiatives that could help alleviate the problem. In 2006, 11.5% of all women and 6.6% of all men age 65 and over had incomes below the poverty threshold, defined as $10,488 per year or less, the study said. In the same year, however, the poverty rate was 38.5% for single black women in this age group, 41.1% for single Hispanic women, and 16.7% for single white women.
Compared with men, women of all ethnicities are far less likely to have income from employer-sponsored pensions, the study found. Less than one-quarter of women age 65 and over received private pension benefits in 2004, and the median income from pensions among the women in this group was just $4,501, compared to $9,855 among men.
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