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Tax incentives and the decision to purchase long-term care insurance

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Author Info

  • Courtemanche, Charles
  • He, Daifeng

Abstract

This paper studies the impact of the tax incentive prescribed in the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) on individuals' long-term care insurance purchasing behavior. Using data from the Health and Retirement Study, we find that the tax incentive in HIPAA increased the take-up rate of private LTC insurance by 3.3 percentage points, or 25%, for those eligible. Despite this seemingly strong response, our results imply that even an above-the-line tax deduction would not increase the coverage rate of seniors beyond 13%, indicating that tax incentives alone are unlikely to expand the market substantially. We also present, to our knowledge, the first estimate of the price elasticity of demand for LTC insurance of around -Â 3.9, suggesting that demand is highly elastic at the current low ownership rate. Finally, we evaluate the net fiscal impact of the tax incentive and find that the tax deductibility of LTC insurance premiums leads to a net revenue loss for the government, as the reduced tax revenue from granting the tax incentive exceeds the savings in Medicaid's LTC expenditures.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 93 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1-2 (February)
Pages: 296-310

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:93:y:2009:i:1-2:p:296-310

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

Related research

Keywords: Long-term care Long-term care insurance Tax incentive HIPAA Medical expenses Itemization Demand elasticity Fiscal impact;

References

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  1. Jeffrey R. Brown & Amy Finkelstein, 2007. "Why is the market for long-term care insurance so small?," NBER Chapters, in: Trans-Atlantic Public Economics Seminar (TAPES), Public Policy and Retirement, pages 1967-1991 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Norton, Edward C., 2000. "Long-term care," Handbook of Health Economics, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 17, pages 955-994 Elsevier.
  3. Amy Finkelstein & Kathleen McGarry, 2006. "Multiple Dimensions of Private Information: Evidence from the Long-Term Care Insurance Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 938-958, September.
  4. Jonathan Gruber & James M. Poterba, 1993. "Tax Incentives and the Decision to Purchase Health Insurance: Evidence from the Self-Employed," NBER Working Papers 4435, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Jeffrey R. Brown & Amy Finkelstein, 2004. "The Interaction of Public and Private Insurance: Medicaid and the Long-Term Care Insurance Market," NBER Working Papers 10989, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Finkelstein, Amy, 2002. "The effect of tax subsidies to employer-provided supplementary health insurance: evidence from Canada," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(3), pages 305-339, June.
  7. Jeffrey R. Brown & Norma B. Coe & Amy Finkelstein, 2007. "Medicaid Crowd-Out of Private Long-Term Care Insurance Demand: Evidence from the Health and Retirement Survey," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 21, pages 1-34 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Cutler, David M., 2002. "Health care and the public sector," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 31, pages 2143-2243 Elsevier.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Lin, Haizhen & Prince, Jeffrey, 2013. "The impact of the partnership long-term care insurance program on private coverage," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1205-1213.
  2. Jeffrey R. Brown & Amy Finkelstein, 2011. "Insuring Long-Term Care in the United States," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 25(4), pages 119-42, Fall.
  3. Haizhen Lin & Jeffrey T. Prince, 2012. "The Impact of the Partnership Long-term Care Insurance Program on Private Coverage and Medicaid Expenditures," Working Papers 2012-01, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
  4. Goda, Gopi Shah, 2011. "The impact of state tax subsidies for private long-term care insurance on coverage and Medicaid expenditures," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 744-757, August.
  5. Jeffrey Brown & Amy Finkelstein, 2011. "Insuring Long Term Care In the US," NBER Working Papers 17451, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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