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The Economic Consequences of Hospital Admissions (WP-16-24)

Carlos Dobkin, Amy Finkelstein, Raymond Kluender, and Matthew Notowidigdo

The researchers 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. They 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; and the elderly face very little economic risk from adverse health shocks.

Carlos Dobkin, Professor of Economics, University of California, Santa Cruz

Amy Finkelstein, John & Jennie S. MacDonald Professor of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Raymond Kluender, PhD Candidate in Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Matthew Notowidigdo, Associate Professor of Economics and IPR Fellow, Northwestern University

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