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Household Labor Search, Spousal Insurance, and Health Care Reform

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  • Hanming Fang

    () (University of Pennsylvania)

  • Andrew Shephard

    () (University of Pennsylvania)

Abstract

Health insurance in the United States for the working age population has traditionally been provided in the form of employer-sponsored health insurance (ESHI). If employers offered ESHI to their employees, they also typically extended coverage to their spouse and dependents. Provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) significantly alter the incentive for firms to offer insurance to the spouses of employees. We evaluate the long-run impact of the ACA on firms’ insurance offerings and on household outcomes by developing and estimating an equilibrium job search model in which multiple household members are searching for jobs. The distribution of job offers is determined endogenously, with compensation packages consisting of a wage and menu of insurance offerings (premiums and coverage) that workers select from. Using our estimated model we find that households’ valuation of employer-sponsored spousal health insurance is significantly reduced under the ACA, and with an “employee-only” health insurance contract emerging among low productivity firms. We relate these outcomes to the specific provisions in the ACA.

Suggested Citation

  • Hanming Fang & Andrew Shephard, 2019. "Household Labor Search, Spousal Insurance, and Health Care Reform," PIER Working Paper Archive 19-019, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  • Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:19-019
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Household Labor Search, Spousal Insurance, and Health Care Reform
      by Christian Zimmermann in NEP-DGE blog on 2019-10-28 20:06:12

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    Cited by:

    1. Naoki Aizawa & Chao Fu, 2020. "Interaction of the Labor Market and the Health Insurance System: Employer-Sponsored, Individual, and Public Insurance," NBER Working Papers 26713, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Health; Health Insurance; Labor Market Equilibrium; Household Search;

    JEL classification:

    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies
    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private
    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions

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