U.S. Department of the Treasury
Institutional Affiliation: U.S. Department of the Treasury
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|December 2019||Health Insurance and Mortality: Experimental Evidence from Taxpayer Outreach|
with Jacob Goldin, Ithai Z. Lurie: w26533
We evaluate a randomized pilot study in which the IRS sent informational letters to 3.9 million taxpayers who paid a tax penalty for lacking health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Drawing on administrative data, we study the effect of the intervention on taxpayers’ subsequent health insurance enrollment and mortality. We find the intervention led to increased coverage in the two years following treatment and that this additional coverage reduced mortality among middle-aged adults over the same time period. Our results provide the first experimental evidence that health insurance reduces mortality.