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Medicaid and the housing and asset decisions of the elderly: Evidence from estate recovery programs

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  • Greenhalgh-Stanley, Nadia

Abstract

I examine the impact of Medicaid on elderly housing and portfolio decisions by using recent state-by-calendar-year level variation in the Medicaid treatment of owner-occupied housing assets from the adoption of Medicaid estate recovery programs. Prior to the adoption of these programs, the house, which represents the most important non-pension asset to the elderly, was exempt from determining Medicaid eligibility and served as both a place of residence and a store of wealth. Adoption of estate recovery programs changed the owner-occupied housing safety net by making the house eligible for recovery by the government, which increased the implicit tax of holding owner-occupied housing. Using data from 1993 to 2004 in the Health and Retirement Study on elderly individuals, I find that state adoption of estate recovery programs makes the elderly decrease homeownership by 4.6%, decrease home equity by 15%, and also decrease the housing share of the elderly wealth portfolio. State adoption of these programs results in elderly baseline homeowners being 33% less likely to own their homes at death and more likely to use a trust as a substitute to housing in order to preserve assets and carry out bequest motives at death.

Suggested Citation

  • Greenhalgh-Stanley, Nadia, 2012. "Medicaid and the housing and asset decisions of the elderly: Evidence from estate recovery programs," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 210-224.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:72:y:2012:i:2:p:210-224
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jue.2012.05.005
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Donald Haurin & Chao Ma & Stephanie Moulton & Maximilian Schmeiser & Jason Seligman & Wei Shi, 2016. "Spatial Variation in Reverse Mortgages Usage: House Price Dynamics and Consumer Selection," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 53(3), pages 392-417, October.
    2. James Poterba & Steven Venti & David Wise, 2011. "The Composition and Drawdown of Wealth in Retirement," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(4), pages 95-118, Fall.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Housing; Portfolio decision; Elderly; Medicaid; Estate recovery programs;

    JEL classification:

    • H5 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • R2 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis
    • R5 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis

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