One-Third of Americans Say the Affordable Care Act Will Force Them to Delay Retirement

One-Third of Americans Say the Affordable Care Act Will Force Them to Delay Retirement

The Affordable Care Act, often known as Obamacare, is in the midst of implementation. Many Americans believe it will have a serious impact on their ability to retire and will cause them to push back their retirement date, according to a recent survey.

Retirement Fears Surfacing

Though the new legislation is titled the Affordable Care Act, some feel it was not aptly named. One-third of Americans polled in a survey said that they believe the law will lead to higher health care costs, which will force them to delay their retirement in order to save more money. 33% of respondents said this is how they expect the law to affect them, while just 17% said the Affordable Care Act will allow them to retire earlier.

The retirement crisis is an oft-discussed subject matter, and survey after survey find that more Americans are pushing back their retirement date to work longer. An increasing cost of living and low interest rate environment are taking their toll on Americans who hope to see their golden years sometime soon. Amongst the rest of the survey respondents, the response was split almost evenly between those who do not think the Affordable Care Act will affect their retirement date at all and those who don’t know whether it will or not.

Expectations of Impact

Of the 33% who believe the Affordable Care Act will negate their ability to retire at their target date, 39% say they think it will be delayed by 5 or more years. Another 30% say it will delay their retirement by an estimated 3-5 years. Among those who feel the new law will allow them to retire earlier, the effect is less pronounced. 71% of those respondents say they expect the new law to allow them to move up their retirement by 3 years or less, while just 8% say they think they will be able to move their retirement date up by 5 years or more.

“It’s too early to tell whether Obamacare will actually delay people’s retirements,” says Richard Barrington, CFA, senior financial analyst for MoneyRates.com, and author of the study. “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.”

Health Care Costs Already a Concern

The Op4G study polled 2,000 Americans to gauge their expectations of the new law and see where people think it will affect them in their retirement plans. It’s clear that many fear the effect will not be a positive one and will only serve to hurt their retirement plans as they exist now.

High health care costs are already a concern for many; the United States boasts some of the highest per capita health care costs in the world. Health care expenses in retirement are a concern, too. An annual study by Fidelity Investments that estimates the average cost of health care in retirement placed their 2013 estimate at $220,000 for the average couple. That estimate includes many of the costs that Medicare will not cover, but it doesn’t include the potential cost of long term care, which alone can add up to that much over just a few years of care. An increase in health care costs is the last thing Americans need right now, as they struggle to grapple with the already astronomical costs that lie ahead.

Read more about how to plan for high health care costs in retirement here.

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