Who Receives Medicaid in Old Age? Rules and Reality

38 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2016

See all articles by Margherita Borella

Margherita Borella

University of Torino - Dipartimento di scienze economico-sociali e matematico-statistiche; CeRP - Collegio Carlo Alberto

Mariacristina De Nardi

University College London, Economics Dpt.; Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) - Public Economics

Eric French

Department of Economics; Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS)

Date Written: January 2016

Abstract

Medicaid is a government program that provides health insurance to the old who are sick and have little assets and income compared to their medical needs. Thus, it explicitly tests for income, assets, and health or medical needs to determine eligibility. We ask how these rules map into the reality of Medicaid recipiency and what observable characteristics are important to determine who ends up on Medicaid. The data show that both singles and couples with high retirement income can end up on Medicaid at very advanced ages. We find that, conditioning on a large number of observable characteristics, including those that directly relate to Medicaid eligibility criteria, single women are more likely to end up on Medicaid. So are non-whites, but, surprisingly, their higher recipiency is concentrated above the lower income percentiles. We also find that low-income people with a high school diploma or higher are much less likely to end up on Medicaid than their more educated counterparts. All of these effects are large and depend on retirement income in a very non-linear way.

Suggested Citation

Borella, Margherita and De Nardi, Mariacristina and French, Eric, Who Receives Medicaid in Old Age? Rules and Reality (January 2016). NBER Working Paper No. w21873. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2717283

Margherita Borella (Contact Author)

University of Torino - Dipartimento di scienze economico-sociali e matematico-statistiche ( email )

C. so Unione Sovietica, 218 Bis
Torino, 13820-4020
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/margheritaborella/

CeRP - Collegio Carlo Alberto

Via Real Collegio, 30
Moncalieri, Turin
Italy
+39 011 647 6525 (Phone)
+39 011 640 3680 (Fax)

Mariacristina De Nardi

University College London, Economics Dpt. ( email )

Gower Street
London WC1E 6BT, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago ( email )

Research Department
230 South LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60604
United States
312 322 5769 (Phone)
312 322 2357 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.nber.org/~denardim

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) - Public Economics ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.nber.org/~denardim

Eric French

Department of Economics ( email )

Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) ( email )

7 Ridgmount Street
London, WC1E 7AE
United Kingdom

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