Although the Congressional Budget Office projects a smaller U.S. workforce in coming years as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the majority of American workers don’t believe that the ACA will allow them to retire any sooner, according to a new survey from MoneyRates.com.
The survey was conducted by OP4G.
On the contrary, the survey indicates that one-third of workers expect that the ACA – also known as Obamacare – will raise their health care costs and thereby force them to retire later than they previously anticipated.
One-quarter of respondents felt that Obamacare would have no impact on their retirement date, and another one-quarter weren’t sure how it would impact their retirement. Those who felt Obamacare would allow them to retire earlier were the smallest segment of respondents at 17%.
Many of the workers who indicated that Obamacare would delay their retirement said that the delay would be lengthy. Seventy percent of those respondents said they expected the delay to be at least three years, including the 39% who said it would be at least five years. The respondents who said they expected an earlier retirement were more moderate in their projections, with 71% indicating it would hasten their retirement by three years or less.
Richard Barrington, senior financial analyst for MoneyRates.com and author of the study, says that the purpose of the survey wasn’t to determine whether Obamacare would truly delay or hasten anyone’s retirement, but rather to gauge the fear and uncertainty that surround the program today.
“It’s too early to tell whether Obamacare will actually delay people’s retirements,” says Barrington. “But what’s clear at this point is that the program has created a lot of concern about health care costs as a burden on workers and retirees.”
Barrington adds that whether or not these concerns are warranted, there are steps workers can take to better manage their health care costs in retirement, including budgeting for health insurance within their retirement plans, shopping regularly for better deals on insurance and using a health savings account as a way of handling out-of-pocket medical expenses.
“The poll reflects a high degree of uncertainty over the impact of Obamacare on retirement,” says Barrington. “One way to reduce the uncertainty is to take active steps to manage how health care will affect your retirement.”