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Who receives medicaid in old age? Rules and reality

Author

Listed:
  • Margherita Borella

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

  • Mariacristina De Nardi

    () (Institute for Fiscal Studies and UCL, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and NBER)

  • Eric French

    () (Institute for Fiscal Studies and IFS and UCL)

Abstract

Medicaid is a government program that also provides health insurance to the old who have little assets and either low income or catastrophic health care expenses. We ask how the Medicaid rules map into the reality of Medicaid recipiency and what other 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 in the higher 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 less educated counterparts. All of these effects are large and depend on retirement income in a very non-linear way.

Suggested Citation

  • Margherita Borella & Mariacristina De Nardi & Eric French, 2017. "Who receives medicaid in old age? Rules and reality," IFS Working Papers W17/04, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:17/04
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    File URL: https://www.ifs.org.uk/uploads/publications/wps/WP201704.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    6. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Margherita Borella & Mariacristina De Nardi & Fang Yang, 2017. "Marriage-Related Policies in an Estimated Life-Cycle Model of Households' Labor Supply and Savings for Two Cohorts," NBER Working Papers 23972, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Medicaid; elderly; permanent income;

    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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