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Aging out of the federal dependent coverage mandate and purchases of prescription drugs with high rates of misuse

Michael DiNardi

Economics & Human Biology, 2021, vol. 43, issue C

Abstract: Prescription central nervous system depressants, opioid pain relievers, and stimulants provide therapeutic value, but misuse for their recreational value is a growing problem in the United States. Because health insurance lowers the cost of purchasing prescription drugs, losing coverage may cause individuals to forgo treatment and decrease prescription drug consumption which could reduce health and increase the likelihood of overdose and death if individuals substitute to using illicit drugs. I estimate the reduced form effect of aging out of the federal dependent coverage mandate at age 26 on legal purchases of prescription central nervous system depressants, opioids, and stimulants. Individuals are 0.5–0.9% points less likely to purchase a prescription central nervous system depressant and 0.8–1.5% points less likely to purchase a prescription opioid after turning 26. These effects are strongest for women, while estimated effects for men are generally negative but imprecise.

Keywords: Central nervous system depressants; Health insurance; Opioids; Prescription drugs; Stimulants (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I13 I19 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2021.101066

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