The economic reasons why some people do not obtain health insurance are unclear. In this paper, I test the hypothesis that the availability of charity care to the uninsured reduces the likelihood of obtaining private coverage. I utilize variation in the availability of charity care across the different markets in the Community Tracking Study's Household Survey (CTS-HS) using an "access to care" measure of the uninsured's cost-related difficulties in obtaining medical care, to both aggregate across the various "safety net" providers and control for its potentially endogenous supply. I find evidence supporting this hypothesis for low-income people, in both the individual market and the employment-based group market. I also estimate a joint model of offer and take-up decisions for the group market sample and find that the availability of charity care reduces low-income workers' offer rates but not their take-up rates.
- Charity care
- Private health insurance
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health