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The Economic Consequences of Hospital Admissions

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  • Carlos Dobkin
  • Amy Finkelstein
  • Raymond Kluender
  • Matthew J. Notowidigdo

Abstract

We use an event study approach to examine the economic consequences of hospital admissions for adults in two datasets: survey data from the Health and Retirement Study, and hospitalization data linked to credit reports. For non-elderly adults with health insurance, hospital admissions increase out-of-pocket medical spending, unpaid medical bills, and bankruptcy, and reduce earnings, income, access to credit, and consumer borrowing. The earnings decline is substantial compared to the out-of-pocket spending increase, and is minimally insured prior to age-eligibility for Social Security Retirement Income. Relative to the insured non-elderly, the uninsured non-elderly experience much larger increases in unpaid medical bills and bankruptcy rates following a hospital admission. Hospital admissions trigger fewer than 5 percent of all bankruptcies in our sample.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlos Dobkin & Amy Finkelstein & Raymond Kluender & Matthew J. Notowidigdo, 2018. "The Economic Consequences of Hospital Admissions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(2), pages 308-352, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:108:y:2018:i:2:p:308-52
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20161038
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies
    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private

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