JSIT20-05: The Unintended Effect of Medicaid Aging Waivers on Informal Care giving



Medicaid aging waivers incentivize older adults who need long-term care to stay at home rather than move into a nursing facility. However, this policy may inadvertently shift care burdens onto informal caregivers. Using data on state-level Medicaid aging waiver expenditures from 1998 to 2014 linked with the restricted access Health and Retirement Study (HRS), this paper investigates whether program funding is associated with the probability that an HRS respondent provides informal care to her older parents. Changes to state-level policy funding produce a quasi-experiment, which allows to use two-way fixed effects models to estimate a causal relationship between the program and informal caregiving. The findings reveal that a 10 percent increase in Medicaid aging waiver expenditures increases the overall likelihood that an adult child becomes an informal caregiver to her parents by 0.1 percentage points (0.3 percent). The overall estimate is composed of differential effects on different types of care. The results show that the Medicaid aging waiver funding is positively associated with the likelihood of being a non-intensive caregiver who spends fewer hours providing care, but unrelated to the likelihood of providing intensive care. Moreover, only female caregivers reduce caregiving for personal care.


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JSIT20-05: The Unintended Effect of Medicaid Aging Waivers on Informal Care

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