More and more workers are planning to work longer—just so they can keep their health benefits.

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According to new research by the nonpartisan Employee BenefitResearch Institute, more than half of employees say working longeris their plan so they can keep their employer-sponsored healthinsurance.

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If health benefits were guaranteed upon retirement, 27 percentsaid they would retire earlier than planned—up from 15 percent in2003, the study found.

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Still, the report notes delaying retirement might be wishfulthinking. Only 19 percent of retirees say they were able to worklonger to continue receiving health insurance through their jobs,the EBRI report says.

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The report underscores the problem many older workers andretirees face with health benefits. EBRI last fall reported feweremployees are likely to get health benefits in retirement asemployers drop or change the benefit.

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Additionally, health care costs comprise a significant chunk ofseniors' total spending: 9 percent for those adults aged 50 to 64,12 percent for those 65-74, and 15 percent for those 75-84.

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Paul Fronstin, director of EBRI's Health Research and Educationprogram and author of the report, says the Patient Protection andAffordable Care Act might change the labor-market dynamics of olderworkers.

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Retirees could stand to benefit from exchanges, where they canbuy health insurance, as well as other insurance-market reformsincluding guaranteed issue, modified community rating, and premiumand costsharing subsidies for those under 400 percent of poverty,as well as increased health plan choices, Fronstin says.

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