While the unemployment insurance (UI) program is one of the largest safety net programs in the United States, research on its benefits is limited. This paper exploits plausibly exogenous changes in state UI laws to empirically estimate whether UI generosity mitigates any of the previously documented negative health effects of job loss. The results show that higher UI generosity increases health insurance coverage and utilization, with stronger effects during periods of high unemployment rates. During such periods, higher UI generosity also leads to improved self-reported health. Finally, I find no effects on risky behaviors or health conditions.

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