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Health Insurance and Mortality in US Adults: A Cautionary Tale

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Abstract

A 2009 observational study reported that private insurance status is associated with decreased mortality risk compared to no insurance. Employing the same statistical model but with more recent data, we observe a weaker and statistically insignificant relationship. However, Medicaid coverage is associated with increased mortality risk; the adjusted hazard ratio for Medicaid compared to no insurance is 1.32 (95% CI = 1.01, 1.72). These findings bolster concerns about using observational studies to understand the health consequences of insurance.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeffrey Milyo & Jenny Kim, 2011. "Health Insurance and Mortality in US Adults: A Cautionary Tale," Working Papers 1113, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
  • Handle: RePEc:umc:wpaper:1113
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    File URL: https://economics.missouri.edu/working-papers/2011/wp1113_milyo.pdf
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    as
    1. Finkelstein, Amy & McKnight, Robin, 2008. "What did Medicare do? The initial impact of Medicare on mortality and out of pocket medical spending," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(7), pages 1644-1668, July.
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    Keywords

    Health; Insurance; Mortality;

    JEL classification:

    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare

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