Earlier this month, John Hempton penned a piece on the demographic challenges to be faced by the governments of the world's post-war industrialized countries. Simply put - too many retirees will, thanks to the overwhelming nominal success of scientific medicine, be living too many years. The resultant underfunding of pensions and health care programs will not be alleviated by the too few offspring that the baby boom generation brought into the world. Here locally, we already have a nice micro version of this.
The contract between the teachers' unions and the regional departments of education in Spain specify that an individual instructor can choose between paying into the public social security health system or a private insurance plan. The latter option (which most take - although it is not a slam-dunk if you live in small town) involves signing on to an administrative organization - MUFACE, for example - which, in turn, strikes deals with the insurance companies. The teacher then picks which company he or she wants after considering facilities available, or whatever. Lately, according to the schoolteacher to whom the writer is married, various insurance companies have abandonned accords with said MUFACE.
The problem, apparently, is the increasing average age of the educational workforce. A national birthrate of 1.1 does not require the continued hiring of young teachers and the ones that are working are becoming more and more costly to maintain in good health.
One has to assume that recent government proposals to extend the retirement age to 67 years will have more insurers rethinking their relationship with public sector unions.