Panel: Health Care and Household Finance Among Low-Income Households

Thursday, November 7, 2019: 1:45 PM-3:15 PM
I.M Pei Tower: Majestic Level, Majestic Ballroom (Sheraton Denver Downtown)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Organizer:  Timothy J. Layton, Harvard University
Panel Chair:  Kosali Simon, Indiana University
Discussants:  Boris Vabson, Stanford University and Daniel Prinz, National Bureau of Economic Research

Health and health care play an important role in the finances of Americans, especially low-income Americans. At the same time, household finances may have important effects on health care consumption. Despite the important interactions between health care and household finance, there is relatively little rigorous empirical work shedding light on this area. Does household liquidity (i.e. cash-on-hand) influence health care consumption? Would universal health insurance coverage improve households' financial well-being? Does health insurance coverage during childhood improve financial well-being later in life? The papers in this panel all aim to answer these important questions and fill gaps in this literature, all applying natural experiments used in other settings to answer questions related to this understudied area.

The first paper focuses on how prescription drug consumption varies around the time of receipt of Social Security checks, finding novel evidence that health care consumption responds to household liquidity.

The second paper focuses on how universal health insurance coverage affects household financial well-being, leveraging the fact that almost all Americans become eligible at age 65.

The third paper focuses on how being eligible for Medicaid during childhood affects participation in social welfare programs later in life, leveraging changes in Medicaid eligibility.

Together, the papers provide important new quasi-experimental evidence on questions that have received relatively little attention previously.

The Financial Impact of Dementia: Evidence from Credit Report Data
Lauren Hersch Nicholas, Johns Hopkins University and Joanne Hsu, Federal Reserve Board of Governors

Liquidity and Healthcare Consumption: Evidence from Social Security Payments
Tal Gross, Columbia University, Timothy J. Layton, Harvard University and Daniel Prinz, National Bureau of Economic Research

Medicare and the Geography of Financial Health
Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham1, Maxim Pinkovskiy1 and Jacob Wallace2, (1)Federal Reserve Bank of New York, (2)Yale University

The Long-Run Effect of Medicaid on Receipt of Public Assistance
William L. Schpero, Cornell University and Chima D. Ndumele, Yale University

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