NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Did Medicaid Expansion Reduce Medical Divorce?

David Slusky, Donna Ginther

NBER Working Paper No. 23139
Issued in February 2017
NBER Program(s):   AG   HC   HE

Prior to the Affordable Care Act, many state Medicaid eligibility rules had maximum asset levels. This was a problem when one member of a couple was diagnosed with a degenerative disease requiring expensive care. Draining the couple’s assets so that the sick individual could qualify for Medicaid would leave no resources for the retirement of the other member; thus divorce and separating assets was often the only option. The ACA’s Medicaid expansion removed all asset tests. Using a difference-in-differences approach on states that did and did not expand Medicaid, we find that the expansion decreased the prevalence of divorce by 5.6% among those 50-64, strongly suggesting that it reduced medical divorce.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w23139

 
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