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Do the uninsured demand less care? Evidence from Maryland's hospitals.
International Journal of Health Economics and Management  (IF1.675),  Pub Date : 2020-03-06, DOI: 10.1007/s10754-020-09280-4
Amanda Cook

Uninsured individuals receive fewer healthcare services for at least three reasons: responsibility for the entire bill, higher prices, and potential provider reductions for concern of nonpayment. I isolate reductions when uninsured patients are solely financially responsible by capitalizing on Maryland’s highly regulated health care system. Prices are set by the state, are uniform across all patients, and hospitals are compensated for free care and bad debt. I use a unique feature of the data, multiple readmissions for patients who gain or lose insurance between visits, to isolate the reductions in quantity demanded when individuals are faced with paying the full price without an insurance contribution. A Blinder–Oaxaca decomposition estimates uninsured individuals receive 6% fewer services after accounting for differences in patient, illness, and hospital characteristics than when these same individuals are insured.