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Health Insurance Benefit Mandates and Firm Size Distribution

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  • James Bailey
  • Douglas Webber

Abstract

By 2010, the average U.S. state had passed 37 health insurance benefit mandates (laws requiring health insurance plans to cover certain additional services). Previous work has shown that these mandates likely increase health insurance premiums, which in turn could make it more costly for firms to compensate employees. Using 1996–2010 data from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages and a novel instrumental variables strategy, we show that there is limited evidence that mandates reduce employment. However, we find that mandates lead to a distortion in firm size, benefiting larger firms that are able to self†insure and thus exempt themselves from these state†level health insurance regulations. This distortion in firm size away from small businesses may lead to substantial decreases in productivity and economic growth.

Suggested Citation

  • James Bailey & Douglas Webber, 2018. "Health Insurance Benefit Mandates and Firm Size Distribution," Journal of Risk & Insurance, The American Risk and Insurance Association, vol. 85(2), pages 577-595, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jrinsu:v:85:y:2018:i:2:p:577-595
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    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/jori.12164
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. David M. Cutler & Brigitte C. Madrian, 1998. "Labor Market Responses to Rising Health Insurance Costs: Evidence on Hours Worked," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(3), pages 509-530, Autumn.
    2. Joanna N. Lahey, 2012. "The efficiency of a group‐specific mandated benefit revisited: The effect of infertility mandates," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(1), pages 63-92, December.
    3. John Haltiwanger & Ron S. Jarmin & Javier Miranda, 2010. "Who Creates Jobs? Small vs. Large vs. Young," Working Papers 10-17, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    4. repec:eme:jespps:jes-07-2015-0137 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Chad Syverson, 2011. "What Determines Productivity?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(2), pages 326-365, June.
    6. Jensen, Gail A & Gabel, Jon R, 1992. "State Mandated Benefits and the Small Firm's Decision to Offer Insurance," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 4(4), pages 379-404, December.
    7. Feldman, Roger, 1993. "Who pays for mandated health insurance benefits?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 341-348, October.
    8. Madrian, Brigitte & Cutler, David, 1998. "Labor Market Responses to Rising Health Insurance Costs," Scholarly Articles 2643643, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    9. James Bailey, 2013. "The Effect of Health Insurance Benefit Mandates on Premiums," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 40(1), pages 119-127, December.
    10. Kowalski Amanda E. & Congdon William J. & Showalter Mark H., 2008. "State Health Insurance Regulations and the Price of High-Deductible Policies," Forum for Health Economics & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(2), pages 1-26, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Yaa Akosa Antwi & Johanna Catherine Maclean, 2017. "State Health Insurance Mandates and Labor Market Outcomes: New Evidence on Old Questions," NBER Working Papers 23203, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions

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