Young Adults: More Health Insurance, Less Work

Two recent working papers from the National Bureau of Economic Research find that the ObamaCare requirement that all family policies include “children” up to age 26 has reduced the number of uninsured young adults. Using data from the SIPP, Antwi et al. estimate that the dependent coverage requirement increased the percentage of people in the 19-25 year old age group with health insurance coverage from 66 to 70 percent, an increase equivalent to 938,000 more insured people. Cantor et al. used data from the CPS to estimate that the uninsurance rate was decreased by 3.5 percent, equivalent to about 716,000 more insured people.

However, Antwi et al. found that the dependent expansion was associated with both a reduced prevalence of full-time work and a roughly 5 percent reduction in hours of work.

Comments (4)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Vicki says:

    Unintended consequences.

  2. Joe S. says:

    Interesting result. And troubling.

  3. Jeff says:

    I think this shows that incentives matter. Isn’t that what economics teaches? We shouldn’t be surprised at this result.

  4. Larry C. says:

    Isn’t this basic economics? If wages and health insurance are tied together, then people at the margin will choose work because of the utility they get from the entire compensation package. But if you separate the package and allow people to obtain health insurance cheaply without work, fewer people will work.