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Key Findings Details

Medicaid Insurance in Old Age
by Mariacristina De Nardi, Eric French and John Bailey Jones
WP 2012-278
  • We assess both the distribution of Medicaid payments and the valuation placed on these payments by elderly singles.
  • People at the top of the income distribution have the highest lifetime medical expenses, but qualify for Medicaid much less frequently. They nonetheless receive lifetime payments almost as large as those for people at the bottom of the income distribution, who die much more quickly.
  • Once one accounts for risk, Medicaid is even less redistributive. Compensating differential calculations suggest that although all individuals value Medicaid well in excess of the payments they expect to receive, it is the rich, who have the most to lose, who value Medicaid most highly.