12/10/2012 03:14 pm ET

For the Trapped-In-Their-Jobs, A Possible Escape Plan

The health-care overhaul, whatever its larger merits, might offer some relief for individuals in their 50s and early 60s in the grips of "job lock."

That's a term used to describe workers who are unable or reluctant to leave their current jobs for fear they won't be able to find health insurance. Older employees in particular--who are likelier than younger workers to have health problems and who don't qualify for Medicare until age 65--see that uncertainty as a "major barrier" to changing jobs or retiring, says Michael Thompson, New York-based principal of human-resource services at consulting firm PwC.

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