NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Economic Consequences of Hospital Admissions

Carlos Dobkin, Amy Finkelstein, Raymond Kluender, Matthew J. Notowidigdo

NBER Working Paper No. 22288
Issued in May 2016, Revised in August 2016
NBER Program(s):HC, PE

We examine some economic impacts of hospital admissions using an event study approach in two datasets: survey data from the Health and Retirement Study, and hospital admissions data linked to consumer credit reports. We report estimates of the impact of hospital admissions on out-of-pocket medical spending, unpaid medical bills, bankruptcy, earnings, income (and its components), access to credit, and consumer borrowing. The results point to three primary conclusions: non-elderly adults with health insurance still face considerable exposure to uninsured earnings risk; a large share of the incremental risk exposure for uninsured non-elderly adults is borne by third parties who absorb their unpaid medical bills; the elderly face very little economic risk from adverse health shocks.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w22288

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