Will Better Access to Health Care Change How Much Older Men Work?

Joanna N. Lahey Melissa A. Boyle

IB#10-14

The brief’s key findings are:

  • An expansion in the Veterans Administration health care system offers insights on how health insurance reform may affect older workers’ employment decisions.
  • The VA reform provided free coverage outside of employment, causing older male workers to work less by increasing their income and reducing job lock.
  • More-educated workers used such health care to move to self-employment, while the less educated were more likely to leave the labor force altogether.
  • In contrast, groups who tend to have worse health actually worked more, likely due to improved health from the new coverage or better work incentives.