Can the Affordable Care Act Medicaid Expansions Protect the Creditworthiness of Low-Income Americans?

Awarded Scholars:
Heidi Allen, Columbia University
Project Date:
Mar 2016
Award Amount:
Project Programs:
Co-funded Research
The Social, Economic and Political Effects of the Affordable Care Act

Findings: Can the ACA’s Medicaid Expansions Protect the Creditworthiness of Low-Income Americans?; Heidi Allen and Tal Gross, Columbia University

Co-funded with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) may not just affect Americans’ health care use and health outcomes, but also their finances. Early evidence from health care insurance reform in Oregon and in Massachusetts suggests that Medicaid expansion reduced the financial hardship of medical care for recipients, from the probability of having unpaid bills sent to a collection agency to the amount of medical debt accrued and the risk of bankruptcy. To what extent could the expansion of the ACA reduce rates of financial distress among low-income individuals?

Heidi Allen and Tal Gross will use the variations in Medicaid expansions across different states to examine how Medicaid eligibility affects the credit standing of low-income adults. They will use detailed credit data over six years from TransUnion and analyze credit outcomes before and after Medicaid expansion, comparing a selected set of expanding and non-expanding states.


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