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Insurance and the utilization of medical services

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Author Info

  • Meer, Jonathan
  • Rosen, Harvey S.

Abstract

Most data sets indicate a positive correlation between having health insurance and utilizing health care services. Yet the direction of causality is not at all clear. If we observe a positive correlation between the utilization of health care services and insurance status, we do not know if this is because people who anticipate poor health buy more insurance (or take jobs with generous medical coverage), or because insurance lowers the cost of health care, increasing the quantity demanded. While a few attempts have been made to implement an instrumental variables (IV) strategy to deal with endogeneity, the instruments chosen have not been entirely convincing. In this paper we revisit the IV estimation of the reduced form relationships between insurance and health care utilization taking advantage of what we argue is a good instrument--the individual's self-employment status. Our main finding is that a positive and statistically significant effect of insurance continues to obtain even after instrumenting. Indeed, instrumental variables estimates of the impact of insurance on utilization of a variety of health care services are larger than their non-instrumented counterparts. The validity of this exercise depends on the extent to which self-employment status is a suitable instrument. To argue this case, we analyze panel data on transitions from wage-earning into self-employment and show that individuals who select into self-employment do not differ systematically from those who remain wage-earners with respect to either the utilization of health care or health status. While this finding does not prove that self-employment status is an appropriate instrument, it is encouraging that there appear to be no underlying differences that might lead to self-employment per se affecting health services utilization.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

Volume (Year): 58 (2004)
Issue (Month): 9 (May)
Pages: 1623-1632

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Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:58:y:2004:i:9:p:1623-1632

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Keywords: Insurance Self-employment Health care services;

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References

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  1. Rivers, Douglas & Vuong, Quang H., 1988. "Limited information estimators and exogeneity tests for simultaneous probit models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 347-366, November.
  2. John Bound & David A. Jaeger & Regina Baker, 1993. "The Cure Can Be Worse than the Disease: A Cautionary Tale Regarding Instrumental Variables," NBER Technical Working Papers 0137, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Craig William Perry & Harvey S. Rosen, 2001. "Insurance and the Utilization of Medical Services Among the Self-Employed," NBER Working Papers 8490, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Jonathan Gruber, 2003. "Medicaid," NBER Chapters, in: Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, pages 15-78 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Jonathan S. Skinner & Elliott S. Fisher & John Wennberg, 2005. "The Efficiency of Medicare," NBER Chapters, in: Analyses in the Economics of Aging, pages 129-160 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas & Penrod, John R. & Rosen, Harvey S., 1996. "Health insurance and the supply of entrepreneurs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1-2), pages 209-235, October.
  7. Smith, James P, 1998. "Socioeconomic Status and Health," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 192-96, May.
  8. Meer, Jonathan & Rosen, Harvey S., 2004. "Insurance and the utilization of medical services," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 58(9), pages 1623-1632, May.
  9. James P. Smith, 1999. "Healthy Bodies and Thick Wallets: The Dual Relation between Health and Economic Status," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 145-166, Spring.
  10. Melissa A. Thomasson, 2003. "The Importance of Group Coverage: How Tax Policy Shaped U.S. Health Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1373-1384, September.
  11. Craig William Perry & Harvey S. Rosen, 2001. "The Self-Employed are Less Likely to Have Health Insurance Than Wage Earners. So What?," NBER Working Papers 8316, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Jonathan Gruber & Brigitte C. Madrian, 2002. "Health Insurance, Labor Supply, and Job Mobility: A Critical Review of the Literature," NBER Working Papers 8817, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. John Cawley, 2000. "Body Weight and Women's Labor Market Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 7841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Jonneke Bolhaar & Maarten Lindeboom & Bas van der Klaauw, 0000. "A Dynamic Analysis of the Demand for Health Insurance and Health Care," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 08-084/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  2. Terza, Joseph V. & Basu, Anirban & Rathouz, Paul J., 2008. "Two-stage residual inclusion estimation: Addressing endogeneity in health econometric modeling," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 531-543, May.
  3. repec:ilo:ilowps:375955 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Denzil Fiebig & Elizabeth Savage & Rosalie Viney, 2006. "Does the reason for buying health insurance influence behaviour? CHERE Working Paper 2006/1," Working Papers 2006/1, CHERE, University of Technology, Sydney.
  5. Dan Shane; & Pravin Trivedi;, 2012. "What Drives Differences in Health Care Demand? The Role of Health Insurance and Selection Bias," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 12/09, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  6. Jonathan Meer & Harvey S. Rosen, 2003. "Insurance and the Utilization of Medical Services," NBER Working Papers 9812, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Hendrik P. van Dalen, 2006. "When Health Care Insurance does not make a Difference – The Case of Health Care ‘Made in China’," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 06-091/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  8. Jonneke Bolhaar & Maarten Lindeboom & Bas van der Klaauw, 0000. "A Dynamic Analysis of the Demand for Health Insurance and Health Care," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 08-084/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  9. José A. Pagán & Andrea Puig & Beth J. Soldo, 2007. "Health insurance coverage and the use of preventive services by Mexican adults," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(12), pages 1359-1369.
  10. repec:dgr:uvatin:0000084 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Partha Deb & Chenghui Li & Pravin K. Trivedi & David M. Zimmer, 2006. "The effect of managed care on use of health care services: results from two contemporaneous household surveys," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(7), pages 743-760.

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