The Economic Consequences of Hospital Admissions


We examine some economic consequences of hospitalizations using an event study approach in which we link one million individuals with a (non-pregnancy related) hospital admission to a 10year panel of their consumer credit reports. For prime-age adults with health insurance, we find that hospital admissions increase unpaid medical bills, increase bankruptcy rates, reduce access to credit, and reduce borrowing. For uninsured, prime-age adults, we find substantially larger impacts on unpaid medical bills and bankruptcy, but similar effects on access to credit and borrowing; for the elderly, we find impacts only on unpaid medical bills. Our results suggest that insured adults are not fully protected against adverse economic consequences from hospital admissions, and that the uninsured may not be substantially less protected economically. Relatedly, our results suggest an important role for uninsured income consequences of hospital admissions; we estimate that less than 20 percent of the adverse consequences for prime-age insured adults can be attributed to uncovered medical expenses. JEL codes: I10, I13, D14.

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@inproceedings{Dobkin2015TheEC, title={The Economic Consequences of Hospital Admissions}, author={Carlos E. Dobkin and Amy N Finkelstein and Raymond Kluender and Matthew J. Notowidigdo and Allyson Barnett}, year={2015} }