CEPR

For Immediate Release: October 24, 2018
Contact: Karen Conner, (202) 293-5380 x117, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Washington DC — The Affordable Care Act (ACA) extended health care coverage to nearly 20 million Americans, but new research suggests an additional benefit. The ACA freed over one million workers from dependence on employer-provided health insurance, with the most notable increase among younger workers and especially among young women.

Voluntary Part-Time Employment and the Affordable Care Act: What Do Workers Do With Their Extra Time?,” released today by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), uses the American Time Use Survey (ATUS), to assess how these workers used the extra time gained when they chose to work part-time over full-time.

The report by researcher Hannah Archambault and economist Dean Baker shows that women, ages 25–34, who chose part-time over full-time work, had about 2.5 hours of additional non-work hours each day than full-time workers. They used almost half of that time to care for family members, mostly children, and a substantial amount of time on education. Men in that age range spent nearly five times more time on education than women in that age range.

Women between the ages of 35 and 44 gained almost 2.0 hours a day by choosing part-time over full-time work. The largest chunk of their extra time, about 40 minutes, went to caring for children.

“This shows that the ACA gave some relief to caregivers who would otherwise be locked into an inflexible job situation just to keep their health care coverage,” said Archambault.

Before the ACA, there was considerable evidence showing that many workers were locked in jobs solely because they needed the employer-provided health insurance. This was likely to be especially true of workers with children, a disability, or who had a family member with a disability, and older workers. By increasing access to insurance outside of employment, either through Medicaid or the health care exchanges, the ACA made it easier for workers to take jobs that better fit their needs.