NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Effects of Health Insurance Parity Laws for Substance Use Disorder Treatment on Traffic Fatalities: Evidence of Unintended Benefits

Ioana Popovici, Johanna Catherine Maclean, Michael T. French

NBER Working Paper No. 23388
Issued in May 2017
NBER Program(s):HC, HE, PE

Each year, 10,000 individuals die in alcohol-impaired traffic accidents in the United States, while psychoactive drugs are involved in 20% of all fatal traffic accidents. We investigate whether state parity laws for substance use disorder (SUD) treatment have the unintended benefit of reducing fatal traffic accidents. Parity laws compel insurers to cover SUD treatment in private insurance markets, thereby reducing the financial costs of and increasing access to treatment for beneficiaries. We employ over 20 years of administrative data from the national Fatal Accident Reporting System coupled with a differences-in-differences research design to investigate the potential spillover effects of parity laws to traffic safety. Our findings indicate that passage of a state parity law reduces fatal traffic accident rates by 4.1 to 5.4%. These findings suggest that government regulations requiring insurers to cover SUD treatment can significantly improve traffic safety, possibly by reducing the number of impaired drivers on roadways.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from SSRN.com ($5) for electronic delivery.

Access to NBER Papers

You are eligible for a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a ".GOV" domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.

E-mail:

The NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health provides summaries of publications like this.  You can sign up to receive the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health by email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w23388

 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us