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Uninsurance and Purchases of Prescription Drugs with High Rates of Misuse: Evidence from the Federal Dependent Coverage Mandate

Michael DiNardi

MPRA Paper from University Library of Munich, Germany

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. Using a regression discontinuity design, I estimate the 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 0.8-1 percentage points less likely to purchase a prescription central nervous system depressant and 1-2.6 percentage point 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: health insurance; prescription drugs; substance abuse (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I13 I19 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019-12-21
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ias
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