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Health Insurance and Young Adult Financial Distress

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  • Nathan Blascak
  • Vyacheslav Mikhed

Abstract

We study the financial effects of health insurance for young adults using the Affordable Care Act’s dependent coverage mandate as a source of exogenous variation. Using nationally repre-sentative, anonymized credit report and publicly available survey data on medical expenditures, we exploit the mandate’s implementation in 2010 and its automatic disenrollment mechanism at age 26. Our estimates show that increasing access to health insurance lowered young adults’ out-of-pocket medical expenditures, debt in third-party collections, and the probability of per-sonal bankruptcy. However, most improvements in financial outcomes are transitory, as they diminish after an individual ages out of the mandate at age 26.

Suggested Citation

  • Nathan Blascak & Vyacheslav Mikhed, 2022. "Health Insurance and Young Adult Financial Distress," Working Papers 19-54, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpwp:86687
    DOI: 10.21799/frbp.wp.2019.54
    Note: originally titled: Financial Consequences of Health Insurance: Evidence from the ACA’s Dependent Coverage Mandate on 2019-12-17. REVISED in August 2022 under new title.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    health insurance; consumer credit; financial outcomes; Affordable Care Act;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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