The ACA Dependent Coverage Expansion of 2010 and Rates of Suicide Among Young Adults
Discussant: Peiyin Hung
Data from CDC’s WONDER database show that national suicide rates diverged in 2011 for 22 – 25 year olds relative to 26 – 29 year olds after tracking each other closely for the period from 1999 to 2010 (when the correlation between the two rates was 0.84). From 2010 to 2013, suicide rates for 26 – 29 year olds increased by 7.7% while suicide rates for 22 – 25 year olds declined by 1.4%. Following the expansion of health insurance via Medicaid and the ACA exchanges in 2014, rates of suicide for both groups again converge to similar levels. This project estimates how differential rates of take-up across states of the available insurance coverage from dependents’ parents relates to changes in rates of suicide across age groups and states. In two-thirds of states, increases in rates of suicide were greater for 26 to 29 year olds from 2011 to 2014 relative to 2006 to 2009 than they were for 22 to 25 year olds (who potentially gained access to their parent’s insurance towards the end of 2010). These states represent 79 percent of the young adult population in the U.S. for these age groups indicating that a large majority of young adults lived in states where suicide rates grew faster for age ranges just above the cutoff for eligibility of this dependent coverage.