The health conditions and the health care consumption of the uninsured

by Marco A. Castaneda and Meryem Saygili
Health Economics Review, 2016, 6:55 – Published: 7 December 2016

19 pp. 436 kB

This paper investigates the difference in the health conditions and the health care consumption of uninsured individuals as compared to individuals with private insurance, using a nationally representative data set of inpatient hospital admissions from the US. In line with the previous literature, the results indicate that uninsured individuals are, on average, in worse health conditions. However, if we compare individuals within the same diagnosis category, the uninsured are actually healthier, with a lower number of chronic conditions and a lower risk of mortality. This indicates that the uninsured are admitted to the hospital only for more serious conditions. In addition, the results show that uninsured individuals consume less health care. In particular, conditional on being admitted to a hospital and controlling for health conditions, the uninsured have lower total charges, fewer procedures, and a higher mortality rate.

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