How Does Losing Health Insurance Affect Disability Claims? Evidence from the Affordable Care Act's Dependent Care Mandate

How Does Losing Health Insurance Affect Disability Claims? Evidence from the Affordable Care Act's Dependent Care Mandate

Published: Feb 12, 2021
Publisher: Health Economics (online ahead of print)
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Authors

Heinrich Hock

Nancy Early

We estimate the impacts of losing access to parental health insurance on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) participation, focusing on the age‐26 limit for dependent coverage. We analyze the age pattern of SSI claims to develop counterfactual predictions that assume no change in access to insurance. Relative to this prediction, we find a 3.4% spike in SSI applications in the months immediately surrounding the 26th birthday, along with a slightly smaller increase in awards. These claims are primarily motivated by losing coverage; there might be more direct ways to address unmet insurance needs without also increasing reliance on cash payments.

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