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VOLUME 50 | NUMBER 3 | JUNE 2015

Drawing Plausible Inferences about the Impact of State Dependent Coverage Expansions 

In a recent paper published in Health Services Research, Burgdorf (2014) critiqued our prior research (Monheit et al. 2011) demonstrating that state laws expanding young adult dependent coverage led to an increase in the likelihood of such coverage.1 Using Current Population Survey (CPS) data similar to our earlier study, applying a comparable difference-in-difference estimation framework, implementing several falsification tests, and most important, drawing a distinction between parental and spousal dependent coverage, Burgdorf asserts that our conclusion regarding the impact of this coverage expansion is flawed. In reaching this conclusion, Burgdorf asserts that the increase in dependent coverage of young adults through the state reforms was driven by enrollment in spousal dependent coverage rather than in parental dependent coverage.2 As a consequence, Burgdorf raises serious doubts about our conclusion that the state reforms had the intended effect of increasing young adult dependent coverage through a parent's private insurance plan.

While we welcome further research that helps to clarify the role of these state insurance reforms and further quantifies their impact on young adult coverage and other outcomes, we believe that Burgdorf's conclusion regarding our work is implausible. Our assertion is based on the following points.

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