Supersedes Working Paper 18-03 - Did the ACA’s Dependent Coverage Mandate Reduce Financial Distress for Young Adults?

Using nationally representative, anonymized credit report and publicly available survey data on medical expenditures, we exploit the mandate’s implementation in 2010 and its automatic disenrollment mechanism at age 26. Our estimates show that increasing access to health insurance lowered young adults’ out-of-pocket medical expenditures, debt in third-party collections, and the probability of personal bankruptcy. However, most improvements in financial outcomes are transitory, as they diminish after an individual ages out of the mandate at age 26.