While Americans remain divided on the Affordable Care Act ("ObamaCare"), they're receptive to provisions that could free them to change jobs or retire early, according to the latest Bankrate Health Insurance Pulse survey.
ObamaCare and Early Retirement?
Prior to 2014, one of the biggest obstacles to early retirement was the cost of health insurance. Job-based health insurance was one of the only ways to get affordable, guaranteed-issue health benefits. Medicare doesn't start until age 65 and prior to 2014 private health insurance coverage for this demographic was either unaffordable or unattainable.
One of the biggest changes under ObamaCare is that insurance companies are no longer allowed to deny coverage or charge a higher premium because the consumer has a pre-existing health condition. Now, consumers with pre-existing health conditions cannot be denied coverage and pay the same as a healthy peer (same age, location, income, etc).
The question has been whether this pre-retirement demographic will exit the workforce early because they no longer need to work for guaranteed-issue, affordable health benefits.
The Bankrate Health Insurance Pulse survey asked if access to affordable, non-job based health insurance would make you more or less likely to retire. The results? About a quarter (23%) said it would most likely make a difference.
Public Remains Divided on ObamaCare
The survey also asked about general views on the health care reform law. Four years after its enactment, the public is still divided on ObamaCare, with 43% of survey respondents rating the ACA's impact as mostly negative, 28% mostly positive, and 21% seeing not much of an impact.
These results mirror other public opinion results (such as this one), that show opinion of the law is divided among party lines, and has not changed significantly since 2010.
Additionally, the survey found:
Of respondents earning $50,0000 a year or more, 53 percent feel Obamacare has mostly been bad for the country, compared to just 29 percent of those making less than $30,000.
Fifty-four percent of Democrats feel the Affordable Care Act's impact has been mostly positive, while 24 percent of independents and just 8 percent of Republicans would say that.
Slightly more than half (51 percent) of rural Americans give Obamacare a thumbs-down, 46 percent of suburbanites are in that same "mostly negative" camp and just a third (33 percent) of urban dwellers feel that way.
Of those earning between $50,000 and $75,000 per year, 37 percent say they'd be more likely to retire early, compared to 22 percent of higher-paid respondents and 19 percent of the lowest-paid respondents.
Thirty-three percent of Democrats with employer-based coverage say they'd be more inclined to retire early, versus 23 percent of those who identify as independents and just 14 percent of Republicans.
Among parents, 13 percent say they'd be less likely to leave the workforce early, compared with 5 percent of those without children younger than 18.