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What can the take-up of other programs teach us about how to improve take-up of health insurance programs?

  • Dahlia K. Remler
  • Jason E. Rachlin
  • Sherry A. Glied
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    Many uninsured Americans are already eligible for free or low-cost public coverage through Medicaid or CHIP but do not take up that coverage. Several other programs, such as food stamps and unemployment insurance, also have less than complete take-up rates and take-up rates vary considerably among programs. This paper examines the take-up literature across a variety of programs to learn what effects non-financial features, such as administrative complexity, have on take-up. We find that making benefit receipt automatic is the most effective means of ensuring high take-up, while there is little evidence that stigma is important. Overall, surprisingly little is known about the quantitative impact, of non-financial characteristics of programs on take-up. New research that could be used to draw measurable causal inferences about how features as administrative complexity, renewal rules, and organizational structure affect participation, would be extremely valuable.

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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8185.

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    Date of creation: Mar 2001
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8185
    Note: HE
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