02/04/2013 10:38 am ET

How Does Job Loss Affect Life Expectancy?

Phillip B. Levine is an economics professor at Wellesley College and an associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, an affiliate of the National Poverty Center. Last fall he was one of the authors of a study that adds a health dimension to the idea that baby boomers are the greatest victims of the Great Recession. Dr. Levine and his co-authors, Courtney C. Coile and Robin McKnight, concluded that the life expectancy of boomers ages 57 to 61 who lose their jobs -- and health insurance -- may be decreased by as much as three years. However, the life expectancy of those 62 and older who lose jobs is unaffected -- in part because Social Security and Medicare provide a safety net to cushion the blow.

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