2022 AUG 24 (NewsRx) — By a
As it happens, when adults enroll in Medicaid, some of them enroll their eligible children, too. This is an example of “wooden results,” as policy experts call it – in some cases, people eligible for social programs can get out of the woodwork, so to speak, to benefit.
New research led by a
But although the findings show that the effects of timber exist in social insurance, in
“We are finding evidence of these trees,” he says
The paper, “Out of the Woodwork: Enrollment Spillovers in the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment,” is available in
Winning the insurance lottery
To conduct the study, the researchers used data from the 2008 Oregon Health Insurance Experiment, a special project run by the state of
That created the basis for a practical experiment: Because lottery winners and losers do so randomly, experts can compare what happens next to lottery winners and losers to determine the effects of getting health insurance. Finkelstein, Baicker, and others have published several studies based on this
Because the children of the elders who participated in the lottery in
Finkelstein said: “This helped us see what happens to older children who win the lottery. “We were just trying to find out if there was an effect on the children, and how big the effect was.”
The results were real, but subtle and diminished over time. One year after the lottery, the census gap between children from lottery-winning families and lottery-losing families was about one-third of its original size; some adults who won the lottery saw their children’s enrollment expire, while some older children who lost the lottery ended up enrolling in Medicaid.
“The magnitude of the effect is economic and practical, but the effect is short-lived,” says Sacarny.
The findings add to the public debate that took place after the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law by the President.
As Finkelstein says, however, the current study is only intended to inform the public about the discussion of Medicaid and wood, and to make better decisions about the expansion of insurance.
“Whether you think that children already eligible to enroll in Medicaid when their parents are eligible is an additional benefit or an additional cost of expanding Medicaid for adults depends on your perception of the cost and benefits of public health insurance,” Finkelstein says. Either way, Finkelstein notes, the cost of paying children through Medicaid is four times less than the cost of paying adults.
“In terms of budget, children tend to be less expensive to cover than adults,” says Finkelstein. “They have less money for health care.”
Understanding enrollment barriers
This paper adds to the existing literature on health insurance enrollment barriers and other social programs. There are a variety of reasons why people who are eligible for social media programs may not apply: They may not know they are eligible, they may find the process too difficult, or they may feel that there is a stigma associated with these programs.
Finkelstein also studied the subject. Along with
Experts who have studied Medicaid’s social impact offer praise for the study.
Miller also notes that, by identifying one mechanism that can increase the number of new enrollees, this study shows that we have more to learn about why families continue to leave eligible children unenrolled in Medicaid. “They may not move the needle much, but more research is needed to find out why,” he says.
As Sacarny points out, the current study also shows many ways in which randomized trials, like Oregon’s, can be used to extract more information. By considering a valid test, experts can think critically about how to determine the results, and continue to use the test to produce rigorous results.
“This research shows the need to do some secondary studies of standardized tests,” says Sacarny. “What we’re showing here is that when you combine the test with additional information, you can use it to study additional questions, which may be of great economic and social importance.”
The current paper may also be Finkelstein’s last paper based on the 2008 Oregon Health Insurance Experiment; he has co-authored at least eight other papers that examine the effects of Medicaid enrollment on people, a project that has gained a lot of attention and helped raise awareness about health insurance.
“For me, I can run out of time,” says Finkelstein. However, he and his colleagues have created a public access data file so other researchers can mine all the data from it
This study was supported, among others, by a
(Our reports provide news about research and findings from around the world.)