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The Effect of Health Insurance Coverage on the Use of Medical Services

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  • Michael Anderson
  • Carlos Dobkin
  • Tal Gross

Abstract

Substantial uncertainty exists regarding the causal effect of health insurance on the utilization of care. We exploit a sharp change in insurance coverage rates that results from young adults "aging out" of their parents' insurance plans to estimate the effect of insurance coverage on the utilization of emergency department (ED) and inpatient services. Aging out results in an abrupt 5 to 8 percentage point reduction in the probability of having health insurance. We find that uninsured status leads to a 40 percent reduction in ED visits and a 61 percent reduction in inpatient hospital admissions. (JEL G22, I11, I18)

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/pol.4.1.1
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 4 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 1-27

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:4:y:2012:i:1:p:1-27

Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.4.1.1
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Cited by:
  1. Amy Finkelstein & Sarah Taubman & Bill Wright & Mira Bernstein & Jonathan Gruber & Joseph P. Newhouse & Heidi Allen & Katherine Baicker, 2012. "The Oregon Health Insurance Experiment: Evidence from the First Year," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(3), pages 1057-1106.
  2. Denise Doiron & Denzil G Fiebig & Agne Suziedelyte, 2013. "Hips and hearts: the variation in incentive effects of insurance across hospital procedures," Discussion Papers 2013-14, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
  3. Miller, Sarah, 2012. "The effect of insurance on emergency room visits: An analysis of the 2006 Massachusetts health reform," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(11), pages 893-908.
  4. Lu, Fangwen, 2014. "Insurance coverage and agency problems in doctor prescriptions: Evidence from a field experiment in China," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 156-167.
  5. Phillip B. Levine & Robin McKnight & Samantha Heep, 2009. "Public Policy, Health Insurance and the Transition to Adulthood," NBER Working Papers 15114, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Finkelstein, Amy, et al., 2011. "The Oregon Health Insurance Experiment: Evidence from the First Year," Working Paper Series rwp11-040, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  7. Astrid Kiil, 2012. "Does employment-based private health insurance increase the use of covered health care services? A matching estimator approach," International Journal of Health Care Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 1-38, March.
  8. Koch, Thomas G., 2013. "Using RD design to understand heterogeneity in health insurance crowd-out," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 599-611.

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