Access to Health Insurance and the Use of Inpatient Medical Care: Evidence from the Affordable Care Act Young Adult Mandate
53 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2014 Last revised: 13 Sep 2021
Date Written: June 2014
The Affordable Care Act of 2010 expanded coverage to young adults by allowing them to remain on their parent's private health insurance until they turn 26 years old. While there is evidence on insurance effects, we know very little about use of general or specific forms of medical care. We study the implications of the expansion for the use of inpatient hospitalizations. Given the prevalence of mental health needs for young adults, we also specifically study mental health related inpatient care. We find evidence that compared to those aged 27-29 years, treated young adults aged 19-25 years increased their inpatient visits by 3.5 percent. Visits related to mental illness increased 9.0 percent. The prevalence of uninsurance among hospitalized young adults decreased by 12.5 percent; however, it does not appear that the intensity of inpatient treatment changed despite the change in reimbursement composition of patients.
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