The Effects of the Dependent Health Insurance Coverage Mandates on Fathers’ Job Mobility and Compensation

Melbourne Institute Working Paper No. 09/19

Date: September 2019


Dajung Jun


Due to the low rates of health insurance coverage among young adults, some state governments began mandating health insurance companies to allow adult children to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans. First implemented in 1995, these mandates aimed to increase insurance coverage among young adults. In 2010, the federal government enacted a more comprehensive version of the dependent coverage mandate as part of the Affordable Care Act. These state- and federal-level efforts increased insurance rates for young adults, but they might have also come with unintended consequences for parents. Parents who placed a high value on health insurance for their young adult children might be reluctant to leave jobs with employer-provided health insurance, and employers might offset the mandate-incurred health care costs by reducing other types of employee benefits or earnings. To assess the extent of such consequences, I study the effects of both the state- and federal-dependent health insurance mandates on fathers’ voluntary job separation rates (job-lock and job-push) and changes in their compensation. I observe a significant decrease in the likelihood of voluntary job separation among eligible working fathers aged 45–64 and find weak evidence that the mandates reduced certain fathers’ total monetary compensation.

Download Paper