The Impact of Financial Assistance Programs on Health Care Utilization

43 Pages Posted: 13 Sep 2021 Last revised: 12 May 2022

See all articles by Alyce Adams

Alyce Adams

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care

Raymond Kluender

Harvard University - Business School (HBS)

Neale Mahoney

Stanford University

Jinglin Wang

New York University (NYU)

Francis Wong

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Wesley Yin

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy; University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Public Policy & Social Research

Date Written: September 2021

Abstract

Most hospitals and managed care organizations have financial assistance programs that aim to reduce financial burdens and improve health care access for low-income patients. We use administrative data from Kaiser Permanente to study the effects of financial assistance on health care utilization. Using a regression discontinuity design based on an income threshold for program eligibility, we find that financial assistance significantly increases health care utilization initially, though effects dissipate three quarters after program receipt. Financial assistance also increases the detection of and medication refills for treatment-sensitive conditions, suggesting financial assistance may increase receipt of high-value care.

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Suggested Citation

Adams, Alyce and Kluender, Raymond and Mahoney, Neale and Wang, Jinglin and Wong, Francis and Yin, Wesley, The Impact of Financial Assistance Programs on Health Care Utilization (September 2021). NBER Working Paper No. w29227, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3922501

Alyce Adams (Contact Author)

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care ( email )

93 Worcester Street
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United States

Raymond Kluender

Harvard University - Business School (HBS) ( email )

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Neale Mahoney

Stanford University

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Jinglin Wang

New York University (NYU) ( email )

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Francis Wong

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Wesley Yin

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy ( email )

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United States
773-702-8194 (Phone)
773-702-2286 (Fax)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Public Policy & Social Research ( email )

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Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States

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