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Markets and Economy

Filing Taxes Early, Getting Healthcare Late

New research from the JPMorgan Chase Institute analyzes data from 1.2 million households to reveal how tax season influences when consumers receive and pay for healthcare.
JPMORGAN CHASE INSTITUTE
April 12, 2018

For a large majority of American households, tax season brings one of the most significant positive cash flow events of the year in the form of tax refunds. In follow-up research to its Deferred Care report, the JPMorgan Chase Institute investigates variation in the timing of tax refund disbursements across socioeconomic and demographic groups, and variation in the impact of the tax refund on out-of-pocket healthcare spending. Whether consciously or not, consumers behave as if they are using their tax filing to generate a cash infusion.

Here are some of the key findings:

  • Among tax filers who were owed refunds, lower-income and younger people filed earlier in the season. Even within an income or age group, those who were owed larger refunds tended to file earlier.
  • Healthcare spending out of accounts held by earlier filers, younger people, women and lower-income people increased by the largest proportion in response to the tax refund.
  • Deferred care represented a larger portion of deferred healthcare spending out of accounts held by earlier filers, women and lower-income people.
  • Cash flow dynamics affected the timing of out-of-pocket healthcare payments even among higher-income groups.
  • Regardless of income, those who filed earlier in the season put a larger fraction of their refund toward deferred healthcare spending.

Access the full report for more findings.

 

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