When Do Health Insurance Mandates Matter? The Case of Infertility Treatment

Marianne Bitler, Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC)
Lucie Schmidt, Williams College

The literature on mandated health insurance benefits has found little evidence of effects on the utilization of health care services. A number of explanations have been considered for these findings of no effects. In this paper, we examine whether mandated insurance coverage for infertility treatment affects utilization for a specific subgroup in the population: older, highly educated women. These women are both most likely to experience fertility problems and most likely to have insurance plans affected by the mandates. We find robust evidence that while an effect of the mandates on utilization can not be found for the full population of women, the mandates do have a large and significant effect on utilization for exactly this subgroup.

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Presented in Session 121: Alternative Pathways to Parenthood: New Reproductive Technologies, Adoption, and Stepparenting