Faculty & Research Health Insurance for Whom? The ‘Spill-up’ Effects of Children’s Health Insurance on Mothers Feb 15, 2022 By Sebastian Tello-TrilloDaniel S. GrossmanBarton Willage Health Insurance for Whom? The ‘Spill-up’ Effects of Children’s Health Insurance on Mothers A rich literature documents the benefits of social safety net programs for children. This paper focuses on an unexplored margin: how children’s programs impact parents’ well-being. We explore changes in children’s public health insurance and its effects on parents’ economic and behavioral outcomes. Using a simulated eligibility for Medicaid eligibility expansions in the 1980s and 1990s, we isolate variation in children’s Medicaid eligibility due to changes in government policies. We find that increases in children’s Medicaid eligibility increases the likelihood a mother is married, decreases her labor market participation, and reduces her smoking and alcohol consumption. Our findings suggest improved maternal well-being as measured by the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression score, a proxy for mental health. These results uncover a new link that provides an important mechanism, parental well-being, for interpreting the literature’s findings on the long-term, short-term, and intergenerational effects of Medicaid coverage. Link to Working Paper Areas of focus Economics Health Policy Sebastian Tello-Trillo Sebastian Tello-Trillo is an assistant professor of public policy and economics at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. He studies health policy in the U.S and Latin America, with a particular focus on understanding how policies affect individuals’ health behaviors and economic outcomes. Read full bio Daniel S. Grossman Barton Willage Related Content Sebastian Tello-Trillo Losing public health insurance: TennCare reform and personal financial distress Research Batten Professor Sebastian Tello-Trillo and his co-authors write about how the primary goal of health insurance is smoothing the financial risk associated with health shocks. They estimate the effect of exposure to health-insurance reform on individual-level financial well-being. Regional Disparities in Qualified Health Plans’ Prior Authorization Requirements for HIV Pre-exposure Prophylaxis in the United States Research Batten’s Sebastian Tello Trillo and his co-authors answer the question are there regional disparities in prior authorization requirements for HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis? Health insurance coverage for kids through Medicaid and CHIP helps their moms too News Batten professor Sebastian Tello-Trillo shares new research suggesting that health insurance coverage for kids through Medicaid and CHIP helps their moms. Study: Expanded Medicaid for Kids Results in More Stable Households News Sebastian Tello-Trillo, an assistant professor in the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, explains the positive “spill-up” effect on parents of children covered by Medicaid.