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Am Econ Rev. 2018 Feb;108(2):308-52.

The Economic Consequences of Hospital Admissions.

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University of California, Santa Cruz, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95064
Department of Economics, MIT, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139
Department of Economics, Northwestern University, 2211 Campus Drive, Evanston, IL 60208


We use an event study approach to examine the economic consequences of hospital admissions for adults in two datasets: survey data from the Health and Retirement Study, and hospitalization data linked to credit reports. For non-elderly adults with health insurance, hospital admissions increase out-of-pocket medical spending, unpaid medical bills, and bankruptcy, and reduce earnings, income, access to credit, and consumer borrowing. The earnings decline is substantial compared to the out-of-pocket spending increase, and is minimally insured prior to age-eligibility for Social Security Retirement Income. Relative to the insured non-elderly, the uninsured non-elderly experience much larger increases in unpaid medical bills and bankruptcy rates following a hospital admission. Hospital admissions trigger fewer than 5 percent of all bankruptcies in our sample.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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