Volume 51 | Number 4 | August 2016

Abstract List

Stacey McMorrow Ph.D., Genevieve M. Kenney Ph.D., Sharon K. Long Ph.D. (economics), Dana E. Goin B.S.


To assess the effects of past Medicaid eligibility expansions to parents on coverage, access to care, out‐of‐pocket () spending, and mental health outcomes, and consider implications for the Affordable Care Act () Medicaid expansion.

Data Sources

Person‐level data from the National Health Interview Survey (1998–2010) is used to measure insurance coverage and related outcomes for low‐income parents. Using state identifiers available at the National Center for Health Statistics Research Data Center, we attach state Medicaid eligibility thresholds for parents collected from a variety of sources to observations.

Study Design

We use changes in the Medicaid eligibility threshold for parents within states over time to identify the effects of changes in eligibility on low‐income parents.

Principal Findings

We find that expanding Medicaid eligibility increases insurance coverage, reduces unmet needs due to cost and spending, and improves mental health status among low‐income parents. Moreover, our findings suggest that uninsured populations in states not currently participating in the Medicaid expansion would experience even larger improvements in coverage and related outcomes than those in participating states if they chose to expand eligibility.


The Medicaid expansion has the potential to improve a wide variety of coverage, access, financial, and health outcomes for uninsured parents in states that choose to expand coverage.