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The Liquidity Sensitivity of Healthcare Consumption: Evidence from Social Security Payments

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  • Tal Gross
  • Timothy J. Layton
  • Daniel Prinz

Abstract

Insurance is typically viewed as a mechanism for transferring resources from good to bad states. However, insurance may also transfer resources from high-liquidity periods to low-liquidity periods. We test for this type of transfer from health insurance by studying the distribution of Social Security checks among Medicare recipients. When Social Security checks are distributed, prescription fills increase by 6–12 percent among recipients who pay small copayments. We find no such pattern among recipients who face no copayments. The results demonstrate that more complete insurance allows recipients to consume healthcare when they need it rather than only when they have cash.

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  • Tal Gross & Timothy J. Layton & Daniel Prinz, 2022. "The Liquidity Sensitivity of Healthcare Consumption: Evidence from Social Security Payments," American Economic Review: Insights, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 175-190, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aerins:v:4:y:2022:i:2:p:175-90
    DOI: 10.1257/aeri.20200830
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • L65 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Chemicals; Rubber; Drugs; Biotechnology; Plastics

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