Health Insurance and Mortality: Experimental Evidence from Taxpayer Outreach

Details

Author(s):
  • Jacob Goldin
  • Ithai Z. Lurie
  • Janet McCubbin
Publish Date:
September 24, 2020
Publication Title:
Quarterly Journal of Economics
Format:
Journal Article Volume 136 Issue 1 Pages 1-49
Citation(s):
  • Jacob Goldin, Ithai Z. Lurie, & Janet McCubbin, Health Insurance and Mortality: Experimental Evidence from Taxpayer Outreach, 136 Quarterly Journal of Economics 1 (2021).

Abstract

We evaluate a randomized outreach study in which the IRS sent informational letters to 3.9 million households that paid a tax penalty for lacking health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Drawing on administrative data, we study the effect of this intervention on taxpayers’ subsequent health insurance enrollment and mortality. We find the intervention led to increased coverage during the subsequent two years and reduced mortality among middle-aged adults over the same time period. The results provide experimental evidence that health insurance coverage can reduce mortality in the United States.