Working Papers

Selection and Public Insurance: Evidence from Medicare and the Medicaid Medically Needy Program 

I examine the effects of public catastrophic insurance programs on enrollment and selection in private health insurance to supplement Medicare. Using variation over time in the availability and generosity of these programs I show that public catastrophic insurance crowds-in private insurance coverage for individuals in the middle of the health distribution, while reducing insurance for higher-risk individuals. The selective crowd-out of individuals in worse health induces advantageous selection in Medigap, one of two types of supplementary private insurance, and reduces Medigap insurance premiums by $225 per year.

Heterogeneity and the Effect of Mental Health Parity Mandates on the Labor Market

Health insurance benefit mandates are believed to have adverse effects on the labor market, but efforts to document such effects for mental health parity mandates have had limited success. I show that one reason for this failure is that the association between parity mandates and labor market outcomes vary with mental distress. Accounting for this heterogeneity, I find adverse labor market effects for non-distressed individuals, but favorable effects for more distressed individuals. On net, I conclude that the mandates are, at worst, slightly welfare reducing.