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American Economic Review: Vol. 98 No. 5 (December 2008)

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The Impact of Nearly Universal Insurance Coverage on Health Care Utilization: Evidence from Medicare

Article Citation

Card, David, Carlos Dobkin, and Nicole Maestas. 2008. "The Impact of Nearly Universal Insurance Coverage on Health Care Utilization: Evidence from Medicare." American Economic Review, 98(5): 2242-58.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.98.5.2242

Abstract

The onset of Medicare eligibility at age 65 leads to sharp changes in the health insurance coverage of the US population. These changes lead to increases in the use of medical services, with a pattern of gains across socioeconomic groups that varies by type of service. While routine doctor visits increase more for groups that previously lacked insurance, hospital admissions for relatively expensive procedures like bypass surgery and joint replacement increase more for previously insured groups that are more likely to have supplementary coverage after 65, reflecting the relative generosity of their combined insurance package under Medicare. (JEL I11, I18)

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Authors

Card, David (U CA, Berkeley)
Dobkin, Carlos (U CA, Santa Cruz)
Maestas, Nicole (RAND Corporation)

JEL Classifications

I11: Analysis of Health Care Markets
I18: Health: Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health


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