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State Mandated Benefits and Employer Provided Health Insurance

  • Gruber, J.

One popular explanation for this low rate of employee coverage is the presence of numerous state regulations which mandate that group health insurance plans must include certain benefits. By raising the minimum costs of providing any health insurance coverage, these mandated benefits make it impossible for firms which would have desired to offer minimal health insurance at a low cost to do so. I use data on insurance coverage among employees in small firms to investigate whether this problem is an important cause of employee non-insurance. I find that mandates have little effect on the rate of insurance coverage; this finding is robust to a variety of specifications of the regulations. I also find that this lack of an effect may be because mandates are not binding, since most firms appear to offer these benefits even in the absence of regulation.

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Paper provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 92-18.

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Length: 49 pages
Date of creation: 1992
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mit:worpap:92-18
Contact details of provider: Postal: MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (MIT), DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMICS, 50 MEMORIAL DRIVE CAMBRIDGE MASSACHUSETTS 02142 USA
Phone: (617) 253-3361
Fax: (617) 253-1330
Web page: http://econ-www.mit.edu/

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  1. Jonathan Gruber, 1992. "The Efficiency of a Group-Specific Mandated Benefit: Evidence From Health Insurance Benefits for Maternity," NBER Working Papers 4157, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Coate, Stephen, 1995. "Altruism, the Samaritan's Dilemma, and Government Transfer Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 46-57, March.
  3. Rosen, Sherwin, 1974. "Hedonic Prices and Implicit Markets: Product Differentiation in Pure Competition," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(1), pages 34-55, Jan.-Feb..
  4. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1976. "Equilibrium in Competitive Insurance Markets: An Essay on the Economics of Imperfect Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 630-49, November.
  5. Manning, Willard G, et al, 1987. "Health Insurance and the Demand for Medical Care: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 251-77, June.
  6. Feldstein, Martin S, 1973. "The Welfare Loss of Excess Health Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages 251-80, Part I, M.
  7. Summers, Lawrence H, 1989. "Some Simple Economics of Mandated Benefits," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 177-83, May.
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