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Public Health Insurance, Program Take-Up, and Child Health

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  • Anna Aizer

    (Brown University and NBER)

Abstract

Of the ten million uninsured children in 1996, nearly half were eligible for public health insurance (Medicaid) but not enrolled. In response, policy efforts to reduce the uninsured have shifted from expanding Medicaid eligibility to increasing take-up among those eligible. However, little is known about the reasons poor families fail to enroll or the consequences. Using a unique data set I find that information and administrative costs are important barriers to enrollment, especially for Hispanics and Asians. In addition, enrolling children in Medicaid before they get sick promotes the use of preventative care, reduces the need for hospitalization, and improves health. Copyright by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Anna Aizer, 2007. "Public Health Insurance, Program Take-Up, and Child Health," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(3), pages 400-415, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:89:y:2007:i:3:p:400-415
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jonathan Gruber, 2003. "Medicaid," NBER Chapters,in: Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, pages 15-78 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. David Card & Lara D. Shore-Sheppard, 2004. "Using Discontinuous Eligibility Rules to Identify the Effects of the Federal Medicaid Expansions on Low-Income Children," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(3), pages 752-766, August.
    3. Dafny, Leemore & Gruber, Jonathan, 2005. "Public insurance and child hospitalizations: access and efficiency effects," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 109-129, January.
    4. Robert Kaestner & Theodore Joyce & Andrew Racine, 1999. "Does Publicly Provided Health Insurance Improve the Health of Low-Income Children in the United States," NBER Working Papers 6887, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Kaestner, R. & Joyce, T. & Racine, A., 2001. "Medicaid eligibility and the incidence of ambulatory care sensitive hospitalizations for children," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 305-313, January.
    6. Hanratty, Maria J, 1996. "Canadian National Health Insurance and Infant Health," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 276-284, March.
    7. Dahlia K. Remler & Jason E. Rachlin & Sherry A. Glied, 2001. "What can the take-up of other programs teach us about how to improve take-up of health insurance programs?," NBER Working Papers 8185, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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