Did the Affordable Care Act Young Adult Provision Affect Labor Market Outcomes? Analysis Using Tax Data

Bradley Heim, Ithai Lurie, Kosali Simon

NBER Working Paper No. 23471
Issued in June 2017
NBER Program(s):Program on Children, Health Care Program, Health Economics Program

We study the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) young adult dependent coverage requirement on labor market-related outcomes, including measures of employment status, job characteristics, and post-secondary education, using a data set of U.S. tax records spanning 2008-2013. We find that the ACA provision did not result in substantial changes in labor market outcomes. Our results show that employment and self-employment were not statistically significantly affected. While we find some evidence of increased likelihood of young adults earning lower wages, not receiving fringe benefits, enrolling as full-time or graduate students, and young men being self-employed, the magnitudes imply extremely small impacts on these outcomes in absolute terms and when compared to other estimates in the literature. These results are consistent with health insurance being less salient to young adults when making labor market decisions compared to other populations.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w23471

Published: Bradley Heim & Ithai Lurie & Kosali Simon, 2018. "Did the Affordable Care Act Young Adult Provision Affect Labor Market Outcomes? Analysis Using Tax Data," ILR Review, vol 71(5), pages 1154-1178.

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