This consequence is called job lock — the need to maintain a job to get health insurance. One of the arguments in favor of the A.C.A. was that it would reduce or eliminate job lock. With repeal of the law on the agenda of Congress and President Trump, there is renewed concern about how health insurance could affect employment and retirement decisions.
These relationships have been examined extensively by scholars. Though not all studies have found evidence of job lock in the pre-Obamacare era, a majority of high-quality studies have. That’s the conclusion of systematic reviews conducted by the Government Accountability Office and several health economists.
Because people approaching retirement age are more prone to illness and high health care costs, employment-based insurance is particularly valuable to older workers — so much so that many studies document that it influences retirement decisions. One study found that workers whose employers offered retiree health benefits were 68 percent more likely to retire early than those who lack employer-based retiree coverage.
Another study found a smaller effect, 47 percent. But that study also found that workers in poor health who had retiree health benefits were 88 percent more likely to retire early compared with similar workers lacking retiree health benefits.