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Key Findings Details

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

· We find no evidence of an increase in retirement or a shift to part-time work among older workers during the first 18 months in which the Affordable Care Act’s new alternatives to employer-sponsored coverage were widely available.

· It may still be the case that over time, retirement patterns will shift in response to the significant new incentives embodied in these programs.

· Several factors may have led prospective retirees to exercise caution in relying on ACA coverage in 2014. First, there were well-publicized obstacles to enrollment in health insurance exchanges in the first open enrollment period in late 2013 and early 2014. Second, prospective retirees may have been prudently waiting to see whether the ACA reforms survived significant legal challenges that were not resolved until a U.S. Supreme Court ruling (King v. Burwell) in June 2015.

· As the ACA’s reforms become more firmly established and more familiar, the availability of subsidized coverage that is not tied to employment may still lead to in increases in early retirement or shifts to part-time work among older workers in the near future.