Health Insurance Outreach to Taxpayers and Labor Supply

Last registered on October 02, 2020


Trial Information

General Information

Health Insurance Outreach to Taxpayers and Labor Supply
Initial registration date
October 01, 2020

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
October 02, 2020, 10:38 AM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.



Primary Investigator


Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
PI Affiliation
PI Affiliation

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
This study will investigate the effects of tax-related health insurance outreach on labor market outcomes using a randomized outreach conducted by the IRS relating to the shared responsibility payment.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Goldin, Jacob et al. 2020. "Health Insurance Outreach to Taxpayers and Labor Supply." AEA RCT Registry. October 02.
Experimental Details


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.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Labor market outcomes
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 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?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
4.5 million taxpayer units
Sample size: planned number of observations
4.5 million taxpayers, 8.9 million individuals. We expect to focus on a subset of this sample, as described in the analysis plan document.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Approximately 86% of individuals were assigned to the treatment, as described above.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Stanford Institutional Review Board
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials