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State Mandated Benefits and Employer Provided Health Insurance

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  • Jonathan Gruber

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan Gruber, 1992. "State Mandated Benefits and Employer Provided Health Insurance," NBER Working Papers 4239, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4239
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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 251-277, June.
    2. 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.
    3. Michael Rothschild & Joseph Stiglitz, 1976. "Equilibrium in Competitive Insurance Markets: An Essay on the Economics of Imperfect Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 90(4), pages 629-649.
    4. 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.
    5. Feldstein, Martin S, 1973. "The Welfare Loss of Excess Health Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages 251-280, Part I, M.
    6. 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..
    7. Summers, Lawrence H, 1989. "Some Simple Economics of Mandated Benefits," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(2), pages 177-183, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jonathan Klick & Sara Markowitz, 2006. "Are mental health insurance mandates effective? Evidence from suicides," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(1), pages 83-97.
    2. Gruber, Jonathan & Madrian, Brigitte C, 1995. "Health-Insurance Availability and the Retirement Decision," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 938-948, September.
    3. Amy Finkelstein, 2002. "Minimum Standards and Insurance Regulation: Evidence from the Medigap Market," NBER Working Papers 8917, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Dhaval Dave & Swati Mukerjee, 2011. "Mental health parity legislation, cost‐sharing and substance‐abuse treatment admissions," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(2), pages 161-183, February.
    5. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas & Penrod, John R. & Rosen, Harvey S., 1996. "Health insurance and the supply of entrepreneurs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1-2), pages 209-235, October.
    6. Stan McMillen & Kathryn Parr & Xiumei Song & Brian Baird, 2004. "The Kerry-Bush Health Care Proposals: A Characterization and Comparison of their Impacts on Connecticut (Technical Appendix)," CCEA Studies 2004-06, University of Connecticut, Connecticut Center for Economic Analysis.
    7. Jonathan Gruber & Brigitte C. Madrian, 1993. "Limited Insurance Portability and Job Mobility: The Effects of Public Policy on Job-Lock," NBER Working Papers 4479, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. M. Kate Bundorf & Melinda Henne & Laurence Baker, 2007. "Mandated Health Insurance Benefits and the Utilization and Outcomes of Infertility Treatments," NBER Working Papers 12820, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Aparna Mathur, 2010. "Health insurance and job creation by the self-employed," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 35(3), pages 299-317, October.
    10. Glied, Sherry & Stabile, Mark, 2001. "Avoiding health insurance crowd-out: evidence from the medicare as secondary payer legislation," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 239-260, March.
    11. Jonathan Gruber & Brigitte C. Madrian, 1996. "Health Insurance and Early Retirement: Evidence from the Availability of Continuation Coverage," NBER Chapters,in: Advances in the Economics of Aging, pages 115-146 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Joseph Gyourko & Joseph Tracy, 1999. "A look at real housing prices and incomes: some implications for housing affordability and quality," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Sep, pages 63-77.
    13. Gruber, J., 1992. "The Efficiency of a Group-Specific Mandated Benefit: Evidence from Health Insurance Benefits for Maternity," Working papers 92-19, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.

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