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Loss of private health insurance coverage in early retirement may trigger mental illness

Loss of private health insurance coverage in early retirement may trigger mental illness

19 August | 0 Comments | By Rachael

The high cost of health care in America is a big burden on various sections of the society. Thus, health insurance is necessary as the high medical expenses can leave a gaping hole in the pocket.

A recent study by the Georgia State University established a relationship between private health insurance, and mental and physical health in Americans. It said that people losing health coverage provided by their employers due to early retirement can be a cause of their overall ill health.

Loss of employer-based health insurance may up chance of depression

As per the study, published in the Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Social Sciences in July 2016, there is a direct association between health insurance coverage provided by an employer and the well-being of its employees. It is observed that early retirees who lose employer-based insurance coverage are likely to show increased symptoms of depression.

And the scenario does not seem to improve for the retirees even when they opt for private non-group insurance coverage after losing employer-based coverage. “If people are getting insurance from places other than their employer, these kinds of insurance tend to be less good,” said researcher of the study Ben Lennox Kail, an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at Georgia State University.

The study, “The Mental and Health Consequences of Changes in Private Insurance Before and After Early Retirement,” made use of the 1996-2010 Waves of the Health and Retirement Study (by RAND Corporation). It extracted data of people aged between 50 and 64 years – an early retirement age range as after 64 years the U.S. citizens are eligible for Social Security or Medicare benefits. The data was collected before the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The insurance coverage patterns studied included:

  • steady insurance (employment-based insurance in 2 consecutive waves)
  • no employment-based insurance (in 2 consecutive waves)
  • lost insurance (insured in the first wave, but lost in the second wave)
  • gained insurance (no employment-based insurance in the first wave, but got insured in the second wave)

The study revealed three health consequences in early retirees because of losing employer-based health insurance – depression, limitations in activities of daily living (ADLs), and limitations in instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs).

60% women constitute early retiree community in America

About 47 percent men and 60 percent women constitute the early retiree community in the U.S. Financial and medical insecurities are the two most remarkable factors contributing to deteriorating overall health in the American population.

According to a recent Gallup poll, “Unemployed Americans are more than twice as likely as those with full-time jobs to say they currently have or are being treated for depression—12.4 percent vs. 5.6 percent, respectively.”

“It seems like changes in insurance or being without insurance have more immediate mental health consequences than they do physical health consequences. Maybe losing insurance itself is a small trauma that triggers depressive symptoms,” Kail said.

Road to recovery

The researchers said that further research was needed to understand the difference between various forms of insurance, their coverages and how all these affect the health of people, especially mental health.

Treatment of mental disorder is as important as treatment of physical ailment. Any kind of mental health problem needs proper professional help. If you or your loved one is suffering from any mental illness, contact the Arizona Mental Health Helpline to know about various mental health treatment centers in Arizona. You may call our 24/7 helpline number 866-606-7791 or chat online with one of our experts to get instant help from mental health disorder treatment centers in Arizona.