The American Academy of Actuaries has prepared a series of guides focusing on several major issues to help voters become better informed during the 2016 elections. These issue-focused guides offer information on select campaign topics on which actuaries have expertise.

The American Academy of Actuaries has prepared a series of guides focusing on several major issues to help voters become better informed during the 2016 elections. These issue-focused guides offer information on select campaign topics on which actuaries have expertise. The Academy hopes candidates for higher office will provide details on their proposals to address the challenges addressed by these guides and the positions they would support as duly elected public officials.

Whether you actively engage national and statewide candidates through campaign events, or are simply reviewing candidate proposals, these guides help frame the pros and cons of select issues. The guides provide brief descriptions of major public policy programs such as Social Security and Medicare, as well as various options for reform. While candidates in 2016 may not be discussing these topics, the Academy raises these issues because of how important they are to voters and the well-being of the nation.

The American Academy of Actuaries is the nonpartisan professional organization for actuaries in the United States. Actuaries are risk professionals who quantify and assist in managing risk, and apply their expertise and knowledge to a wide range of problems facing people in their everyday lives and businesses. In their work of estimating the costs of uncertain future events, actuaries utilize objective data in their modeling of risk.

The Academy hopes these issue guides will help inform you on these key issues facing the nation in this election year.

Social Security

Social Security—An Overview

SOCIAL SECURITY IS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT public program for retirement security in the United States. Ninety percent of Americans who are 65 and older receive benefits from the program, which provides an average of nearly 40 percent of their income.

In 2015, the program provided benefits to more than 59 million retirees, survivors of deceased workers, disabled workers, and dependents. Social Security currently receives more in payroll taxes and interest income than it...

Medicare

Medicare—An Overview

MEDICARE HAS PLAYED A VITAL ROLE IN PROVIDING health care benefits to nearly all Americans age 65 and older. In total, nearly 54 million Americans had Medicare coverage in 2014. The Medicare program, however, faces long-term sustainability challenges. As the baby boomer population ages into the program over the next few decades, Medicare enrollment will grow dramatically and the number of workers paying into the system per beneficiary will shrink. Benefit payments are...

Health Care

Health Care—An Overview

Health care is consistently at the top of the domestic policy agenda and is often a major topic of debate during election years, and 2016 is no different. From measured improvements to more significant repeal-and-replace strategies for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as well as approaches to mitigate health care spending growth and improve quality, the candidates are hinting at a variety of proposals to modify the current health care system.

The American Academy of Actuaries’ Health...

Long Term Care

Long-Term Care—An Overview

The public need and, therefore, the case for addressing public policy options for long-term care (LTC) financing is strong. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 70 percent of Americans reaching age 65 will need some form of LTC service; on average, people turning 65 today will need some type of LTC service for three years; and 20 percent will need it for longer than five years.

There can be substantial costs for LTC services, and finding ways to pay for those...

Lifetime Income

Lifetime Income—An Overview

AMERICANS PLANNING FOR RETIREMENT TODAY face more individual responsibility and risk for their retirement incomes than prior generations experienced, partly due to the decline of traditional defined benefit pension plans that paid monthly benefits. Now that the baby boomer generation has started to retire, many are discovering that they may have not taken sufficient steps to manage the challenges that come with replacing their former paychecks with adequate monthly income...

Climate Risk

Climate Risk—An Overview

Many Americans have keenly felt the effects of extreme climatic events: increased droughts in the western United States, higher rainfall and snowfall in the eastern part of the country, and greater damage from tornadoes, hurricanes, and floods.

While climate scientists continue to refine their models, most data shows record-breaking warm temperatures in many parts of the world over the past several years. Acknowledging that the public debate on climate risk has often been contentious...