Does Having More Time After Retirement Change the Demand for Physician Services?


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Abstract

Various aspects of the demand for ambulatory services of physicians have been studied by researchers, but so far the effect of increased availability of nonwork time due to retirement on demand has not been examined. This study investigated whether discouraging early retirement (which was the intent of the 1983 Amendments to the Social Security Act) will reduce the use of medical services because persons who continue to work have less time than retirees for visits to doctors. This study found that, for men whose health does not interfere with work and who have had no in-hospital care in the study year, retirement does not increase the demand for ambulatory services when compared with being a part-time or full-time employee. However, compared with full-time self-employment, retirement increases the probability of using any physician services in the year by 14% and the number of physician visits by two visits. Although the self-employed have more control over their work time than employees, they may be more affected than employees by the loss of output and earnings associated with absence from the workplace.

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