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The effect of co-payments on the take-up of prenatal tests

Marina Di Giacomo, Massimiliano Piacenza (), Luigi Siciliani () and Gilberto Turati ()

Journal of Health Economics, 2022, vol. 81, issue C

Abstract: Noninvasive prenatal screening tests help identify genetic disorders in a fetus, but their take-up remains low in several countries. Using a regression discontinuity design, we test the causal effect of a policy that eliminated co-payments for noninvasive screening tests in Italy. We identify the treatment effects by a discontinuity in women's eligibility for a free test based on their conception date. We find that the policy increases the probability of women's undergoing noninvasive screening tests by 5.5 percentage points, and the effect varies by socioeconomic status. We do not find evidence of substitution effects with more expensive and riskier invasive diagnostic tests. In addition, the increase in take-up does not affect pregnancy termination or newborn health. We find some evidence of positive effects on mothers’ health behaviors during pregnancy as measured by reductions in mothers’ weight gain and hospital admissions during pregnancy, but these are statistically significant only at the 10 percent level.

Keywords: Prenatal tests; Co-payments; Maternal and newborn health; Regression discontinuity design (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I12 I14 I18 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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Working Paper: The Effect of Co-Payments on the Take-Up of Prenatal Tests (2020) Downloads
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2021.102553

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Journal of Health Economics is currently edited by J. P. Newhouse, A. J. Culyer, R. Frank, K. Claxton and T. McGuire

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