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Effects of cost sharing on the demand for physician services in Japan: Evidence from a natural experiment

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  • Kan, Mari
  • Suzuki, Wataru
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    Abstract

    In this paper, we investigate the effects of cost sharing on the demand for physician services in Japan by using a natural experiment, namely, the increase in the coinsurance rate for household heads in 1997. Our primary finding from the two-year data, which includes the transitory effects of the reform, is that the effects of the reform on the frequency of physician visits were negative and statistically significant, and that the effects of the reform on expenditures per visit were also negative. Based on these results, the arc elasticity of demand for physician services is -0.055. When we exclude the transitory period using the three-year data, the effects of the reform on the frequency of physician visits turn to be positive. It seems that the patients marginally curtailed the number of physician visits immediately after the reform; however, this effect was not sustained in the six months after the reform. We conclude that Japanese patients are not very price sensitive within the 10-20 percent range of coinsurance rate. Another important finding in our study is that the decrease in expenditure per visit retained even after the transitory period. This result suggests that the existence of a possible moral hazard in the treatment intensity although the decision-making process on the treatment intensity needs to be examined more carefully.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6VF1-4WHFD6Y-1/2/b9b7be6a6c7c1537360e9e9f311a455c
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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Japan and the World Economy.

    Volume (Year): 22 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 1-12

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:japwor:v:22:y:2010:i:1:p:1-12

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505557

    Related research

    Keywords: Demand for medical care Natural experiment Price elasticity Moral hazard Physician services;

    References

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    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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    1. Chiappori, P.A. & Durand, F. & Geoffard, P.Y., 1998. "Moral Hazard and the Demand for Physician Services: First Lessons from a French Natural Experiment," DELTA Working Papers 98-05, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
    2. Atsushi Yoshida & Shingo Takagi, 2002. "Effects of the Reform of the Social Medical Insurance System in Japan," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 53(4), pages 444-465.
    3. Willard G. Manning & John Mullahy, 1999. "Estimating Log Models: To Transform or Not to Transform?," NBER Technical Working Papers 0246, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Jayanta Bhattacharya & William B. Vogt & Aki Yoshikawa & Toshitaka Nakahara, 1996. "The Utilization of Outpatient Medical Services in Japan," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(2), pages 450-476.
    5. Zweifel, Peter & Manning, Willard G., 2000. "Moral hazard and consumer incentives in health care," Handbook of Health Economics, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 409-459 Elsevier.
    6. Manning, Willard G, et al, 1987. "Health Insurance and the Demand for Medical Care: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 251-77, June.
    7. Duan, Naihua, et al, 1983. "A Comparison of Alternative Models for the Demand for Medical Care," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 1(2), pages 115-26, April.
    8. Cameron, A C & P. K. Trivedi & Frank Milne & J. Piggott, 1988. "A Microeconometric Model of the Demand for Health Care and Health Insurance in Australia," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(1), pages 85-106, January.
    9. Mari Kan & Wataru Suzuki, 2006. "The demand for medical care in Japan: initial findings from a Japanese natural experiment," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(5), pages 273-277.
    10. Rosett, Richard N & Huang, Lien-fu, 1973. "The Effect of Health Insurance on the Demand for Medical Care," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(2), pages 281-305, Part I, M.
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