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Health Insurance, Health Care and Labor Supply by Older Adults
Lauren Nicholas
WP 2011-256

This paper examines the effect of elective surgery receipt on Social Security Disability Insurance application and receipt amongst older adults with common chronic conditions. I use panel data from the Health and Retirement Study to follow older adults with work-limiting disabilities who develop new chronic conditions. Comparisons of patients who do and do not receive elective surgery suggest that both angioplasty and joint replacement surgery reduce the probability of applying for Social Security Disability Insurance by up to 22 percentage points and delay the age at which a respondent first claims Social Security benefits. Increasing access to medical care amongst chronically ill workers may help to reduce new SSDI applications. Findings also suggest that there are important economic effects of medical treatment intensity that should be considered in cost-effectiveness analysis.

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