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Who Receives Medicaid in Old Age? Rules and Reality

Author

Listed:
  • Borella, Margherita
  • De Nardi, Mariacristina
  • French, Eric Baird

Abstract

Medicaid is a government program that provides health insurance to the old who are sick and have little assets and income compared to their medical needs. Thus, it explicitly tests for income, assets, and health or medical needs to determine eligibility. We ask how these rules map into the reality of Medicaid recipiency and what observable characteristics are important to determine who ends up on Medicaid. The data show that both singles and couples with high retirement income can end up on Medicaid at very advanced ages. We find that, conditioning on a large number of observable characteristics, including those that directly relate to Medicaid eligibility criteria, single women are more likely to end up on Medicaid. So are non-whites, but, surprisingly, their higher recipiency is concentrated above the lower income percentiles. We also find that low-income people with a high school diploma or higher are much less likely to end up on Medicaid than their more educated counterparts. All of these effects are large and depend on retirement income in a very non-linear way.

Suggested Citation

  • Borella, Margherita & De Nardi, Mariacristina & French, Eric Baird, 2017. "Who Receives Medicaid in Old Age? Rules and Reality," CEPR Discussion Papers 11847, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:11847
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lee M. Lockwood, 2014. "Incidental Bequests and the Choice to Self-Insure Late-Life Risks," NBER Working Papers 20745, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    7. Mariacristina De Nardi & Eric French & John Bailey Jones, 2016. "Medicaid Insurance in Old Age," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(11), pages 3480-3520, November.
    8. Mariacristina De Nardi & Eric French & John B. Jones, 2010. "Why Do the Elderly Save? The Role of Medical Expenses," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(1), pages 39-75, February.
    9. Mariacristina De Nardi & Eric French & John Bailey Jones, 2009. "Life Expectancy and Old Age Savings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 110-115, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Margherita Borella & Mariacristina De Nardi & Fang Yang, 2017. "The Effects of Marriage-Related Taxes and Social Security Benefits," NBER Working Papers 23972, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Medicaid; Old Age; Recipiency;

    JEL classification:

    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health
    • I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private
    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health

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