• In health insurance, including insurance provided directly by employers, and social insurance, actuarial science focuses on the analysis of rates of disability, morbidity, mortality, fertility and other contingencies. The effects of consumer choice and the geographical distribution of the utilization of medical services and procedures, and the utilization of drugs and therapies, is also of great importance. These factors underlay the development of the Resource-Base Relative Value Scale (RBRVS) at Harvard in a multi-disciplined study. Actuarial science also aids in the design of benefit structures, reimbursement standards, and the effects of proposed government standards on the cost of healthcare
  • In the pension industry, actuarial methods are used to measure the costs of alternative strategies with regard to the design, funding, accounting, administration, and maintenance or redesign of pension plans. The strategies are greatly influenced by short-term and long-term bond rates, the funded status of the pension and benefit arrangements, collective bargaining; the employer’s old, new and foreign competitors; the changing demographics of the workforce; changes in the internal revenue code; changes in the attitude of the internal revenue service regarding the calculation of surpluses; and equally importantly, both the short and long term financial and economic trends. It is common with mergers and acquisitions that several pension plans have to be combined or at least administered on an equitable basis. When benefit changes occur, old and new benefit plans have to be blended, satisfying new social demands and various government discrimination test calculations, and providing employees and retirees with understandable choices and transition paths. Benefit plans liabilities have to be properly valued, reflecting both earned benefits for past service, and the benefits for future service. Finally, funding schemes have to be developed that are manageable and satisfy the standards board or regulators of the appropriate country, such as the Financial Accounting Standards Board in the United States.
  • In social welfare programs, the Office of the Chief Actuary (OCACT), Social Security Administration plans and directs a program of actuarial estimates and analyses relating to SSA-administered retirement, survivors and disability insurance programs and to proposed changes in those programs. It evaluates operations of the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund and the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund, conducts studies of program financing, performs actuarial and demographic research on social insurance and related program issues involving mortality, morbidity, utilization, retirement, disability, survivorship, marriage, unemployment, poverty, old age, families with children, etc., and projects future workloads. In addition, the Office is charged with conducting cost analyses relating to the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, a general-revenue financed, means-tested program for low-income aged, blind and disabled people. The Office provides technical and consultative services to the Commissioner, to the Board of Trustees of the Social Security Trust Funds, and its staff appears before Congressional Committees to provide expert testimony on the actuarial aspects of Social Security issues.
Foundations of Casualty Actuarial Science
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