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.