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The Long-Term Effect of Health Insurance on Near-Elderly Health and Mortality

44 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2012 Last revised: 8 Apr 2016

Bernard S. Black

Northwestern University - Pritzker School of Law; Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management; European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

José-Antonio Espín-Sánchez

Yale University; Yale University - Cowles Foundation

Eric French

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago; Department of Economics

Kate Litvak

Northwestern University - Pritzker School of Law

Date Written: April 4, 2016

Abstract

We use the best available longitudinal dataset, the Health and Retirement Survey, and a battery of causal inference methods to provide both central estimates and bounds on the effect of health insurance on health and mortality among the near elderly (initial age 50-61) over an 18-year period. Those uninsured in 1992 consume fewer healthcare services, but are not less healthy and, in our central estimates, do not die sooner than their insured counterparts. We discuss why a zero average effect of uninsurance on mortality and health is plausible, some selection effects that might explain our full results, and methodological concerns with prior studies.

The Appendix that accompanies this article is available on SSRN at http://ssrn.com/abstract=2758692.

Keywords: health insurance, Medicare, healthcare utilization

JEL Classification: H51, I12, I18, K32

Suggested Citation

Black, Bernard S. and Espín-Sánchez, José-Antonio and French, Eric and Litvak, Kate, The Long-Term Effect of Health Insurance on Near-Elderly Health and Mortality (April 4, 2016). Northwestern Law & Econ Research Paper 12-09. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2103669 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2103669

Bernard S. Black (Contact Author)

Northwestern University - Pritzker School of Law ( email )

375 E. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
United States
312-503-2784 (Phone)

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States
847-491-5049 (Phone)

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Brussels
Belgium

Jose-Antonio Espin-Sanchez

Yale University ( email )

28 Hillhouse Ave
New Haven, CT 06520-8268
United States
2034320890 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://campuspress.yale.edu/espin/

Yale University - Cowles Foundation

Box 208281
New Haven, CT 06520-8281
United States

Eric French

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago ( email )

230 South LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60604-1413
United States
312-322-5322 (Phone)
312-322-5111 (Fax)

Department of Economics ( email )

Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

Kate Litvak

Northwestern University - Pritzker School of Law ( email )

375 E. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

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