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Abstract

The Effect of Health Reform on Retirement
Helen Levy, Thomas C. Buchmueller and Sayeh Nikpay
WP 2015-329

Many studies have shown that the availability of health insurance is an important determinant of the retirement decision. Beginning in January 2014, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) made affordable alternatives to employer-sponsored health insurance much more widely available than they had been previously through the establishment of health insurance exchanges and, in some states, the expansion of Medicaid eligibility to low-income, childless adults. We analyze whether these new health insurance options led to an increase in retirement or part-time work among individuals ages 55 through 64 during the first 18 months after the policy took effect. Using data from the basic monthly Current Population Survey from January 2005 through June 2015, we find that there was no increase in retirement in 2014 either overall or in Medicare expansion states relative to nonexpansion states. We also find no change in the fraction of older workers who are working part-time.

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