Helen Levy, Ph.D.

March 1, 2009



Helen Levy, Ph.D., is a research assistant professor in the Institute for Social Research and an assistant research scientist in the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan. Dr. Levy’s research interests include public finance, health economics, and labor economics. Recently, her work has focused on the effects of uninsurance on households and the financial consequences for families. Dr. Levy has also studied the impact of Medicare Part D on prescription drug coverage among the elderly.

Dr. Levy received a Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University, where she focused her dissertation work on employer-sponsored health insurance. She received a B.A. from Yale University in mathematics and history. Dr. Levy previously taught at the University of Chicago and was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholar in Health Policy Research at the University of California, Berkeley. During her time at the University of Chicago, Dr. Levy was a co-recipient of the Public Policy Students’ Association Prize for Best Teaching in a Core Course. Dr. Levy also previously worked as a policy assistant on the White House Task Force on Health Care Reform in 1993 and for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

In addition to numerous publications and projects, Dr. Levy is currently the principal investigator of a HCFO grant looking at the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) and its economic implications for families. Her grant, “Consequences of SCHIP for Household Well-Being,” is a timely analysis of the expansion of the SCHIP program. Her project will examine “crowd out,” the phenomenon of people leaving private insurance coverage in response to expanded coverage under public health insurance programs. With co-principal investigators Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, Ph.D., of the University of Chicago and Lindsey Leininger, Ph.D., of the University of Wisconsin, Dr. Levy will study whether families switching from private to public coverage have reduced out-of-pocket medical spending, a situation which would free up resources for other household necessities. The project focuses on two main research questions: (1) did the SCHIP expansions improve the material well-being of low-income families, where well-being is measured using total consumption; and, (2) as a result of gaining eligibility for coverage, which categories of consumption have increased for families? Levy says that, “this analysis will provide solid data on how SCHIP expansions have improved the material well-being of the low-income families it is intended to assist—including those who had previously been paying for their own coverage. This evidence will, we hope, return crowd-out to its proper context and reframe the debate over SCHIP expansions with a renewed emphasis on the benefits rather than merely the costs of coverage expansions.” For more information on this study, please visitwww.hcfo.net/grantees/grant.cfm?GrantNo=65093.

For more information on Dr. Levy and a list of select publications, please visit www.psc.isr.umich.edu/people/profile/670.