Health insurance provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act could significantly boost the number of self-employed individuals next year, according to findings released last week from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Sabrina Corlette, a research professor at Georgetown University's Center on Health Insurance Reforms and one of the study's authors, said that existing research has shown how linking health insurance coverage to employment status often leads to “job lock,” where people stay in their positions mostly because of the insurance benefits. Meanwhile, she said studies also have shown that when other insurance options are available, more people become self-employed. So about six months ago, Corlette and colleague Kevin Lucia began working with researchers at the Urban Institute, a left-of-center think tank, to examine what effects the Affordable Care Act's insurance provisions might have on the number of self-employed workers in the U.S. Along with fellow author Linda Blumberg, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, the authors estimated that the full implementation of the healthcare reform law will increase the number of self-employed individuals by 1.5 million, or more than 11%, in 2014.