Does Widowhood Explain Gender Differences in Out-of-Pocket Medical Spending Among the Elderly?

29 Pages Posted: 23 Sep 2011 Last revised: 28 Aug 2022

See all articles by Gopi Shah Goda

Gopi Shah Goda

Stanford University

John B. Shoven

Stanford University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Sita N. Slavov

American Enterprise Institute; Occidental College - Department of Economics

Date Written: September 2011

Abstract

Despite the presence of Medicare, out-of-pocket medical spending is a large expenditure risk facing the elderly. While women live longer than men, elderly women incur higher out-of-pocket medical spending than men at each age. In this paper, we examine whether differences in marital status and living arrangements can explain this difference. We find that out-of-pocket medical spending is approximately 29 percent higher when an individual becomes widowed, a large portion of which is spending on nursing homes. Our results suggest a substantial role of living arrangements in out-of-pocket medical spending; however, our estimates combined with differences in rates of widowhood across gender suggest that marital status can explain only one third of the gender difference in total out-of-pocket medical spending, leaving a large portion unexplained. On the other hand, gender differences in widowhood more than explain the observed gender difference in out-of-pocket spending on nursing homes.

Suggested Citation

Goda, Gopi Shah and Shoven, John B. and Slavov, Sita N., Does Widowhood Explain Gender Differences in Out-of-Pocket Medical Spending Among the Elderly? (September 2011). NBER Working Paper No. w17440, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1932571

Gopi Shah Goda (Contact Author)

Stanford University ( email )

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John B. Shoven

Stanford University - Department of Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Sita N. Slavov

American Enterprise Institute ( email )

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Washington, DC 20036
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.aei.org/scholar/sita-nataraj-slavov/

Occidental College - Department of Economics ( email )

Los Angeles, CA 90041
United States

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