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Shared Responsibility Payment Outreach Pilot
Last registered on November 27, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Shared Responsibility Payment Outreach Pilot
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0005119
Initial registration date
November 26, 2019
Last updated
November 27, 2019 10:43 AM EST
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Stanford
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Treasury
PI Affiliation
Treasury
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2016-11-25
End date
2017-01-15
Secondary IDs
Abstract
We evaluate a randomized pilot study in which the IRS sent informational letters to 3.9 million taxpayers who paid a tax penalty for lacking health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Drawing on administrative data, we study the effect of the intervention on taxpayers’ subsequent health insurance enrollment and mortality.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Goldin, Jacob, Ithai Lurie and Janet McCubbin. 2019. "Shared Responsibility Payment Outreach Pilot." AEA RCT Registry. November 27. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.5119-1.0.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2016-11-25
Intervention End Date
2017-01-15
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Health insurance coverage, health outcomes (i.e., mortality).
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The pilot intervention we study took the form of an informational letter sent to taxpayers from the IRS. The letter informed recipients that they had paid a penalty in 2015; provided information about the penalty and plan costs for 2017; and provided instructions for recipients to investigate the availability of Exchange and Medicaid coverage through healthcare.gov. Individuals in the sample were randomly assigned to receive a letter (86%) or to a control group (14%). One letter, addressed to the taxpayer(s), was sent per return. Hence, randomization was conducted at the household level. Households were block-randomized based on age and gender of primary filer, marital status, number of dependents, income, the presence of self-employment income, 2014 penalty status, and whether the taxpayer's state expanded Medicaid and/or participated in the federal marketplace during 2017.

The treatment arms varied in either the content or the timing of the intervention. Households selected to receive a letter were randomly assigned across several treatment arms. The baseline treatment contained a personalized estimate of the taxpayer’s potential 2017 penalty (based on 2015 income and household composition) and was mailed in mid-January 2017, approximately two weeks before the close of the open enrollment period. A “non-personalized” treatment variant was identical to the baseline treatment except that the letter provided generic information about the 2017 penalty formula rather than a personalized estimate. An “exemption information” treatment variant was identical to the baseline treatment, but included additional information about penalty exemptions for which the taxpayer might apply. An “early mailing” treatment variant was identical in content to the baseline treatment but was mailed in late November 2016, near the start of the open enrollment period. Based on operational considerations, approximately 21 percent of the treatment sample was assigned to the early mailing variant. The remainder of the treatment sample was randomly divided among the baseline treatment and the other two variants in equal proportions. Finally, the baseline treatment and each of the three variants were randomly divided into two even-size groups, one of which had a Spanish-language translation printed on the reverse side of the letter and one of which did not.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
By Treasury using a computer
Randomization Unit
Tax return
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Households were block-randomized based on age and gender of primary filer, marital status, number of dependents, income, the presence of self-employment income, 2014 penalty status, and whether the taxpayer's state expanded Medicaid and/or participated in the federal marketplace during 2017.
Sample size: planned number of observations
8.9 million individuals corresponding to 4.5 million tax returns.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
8.9 million individuals corresponding to 4.5 million tax returns.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)
REPORTS & OTHER MATERIALS