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Run for Cover Now or Later? The impact of premiums, threats and deadlines on supplementary private health insurance in Australia

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Author Info

  • Randall P. Ellis

    ()
    (Boston University, Department of Economics)

  • Elizabeth Savage

    (University of Technology Sydney, Centre for Health Economics Research and Evaluation, Sydney, Australia)

Abstract

Between 1997 and 2000 the Australian government introduced three policy reforms that aimed to increase private health insurance coverage and reduce public hospital demand. The first provided income-based tax incentives; the second gave an across-the-board 30% premium subsidy; and the third introduced selective age-based premium increases for those enrolling after a deadline. Together the reforms increased enrolment by 50% and reduced the average age of enrollees. The deadline appeared to induce consumers to enroll now rather than delay. We estimate a model of individual insurance decisions and examine the effects of the reforms on the age and income distribution of those with private cover. We interpret the major driver of the increased enrollment as a response to a deadline and an advertising blitz, rather than a pure price response.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Boston University - Department of Economics in its series Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series with number wp2008-013.

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Length: 27
Date of creation: Sep 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bos:wpaper:wp2008-013

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Keywords: private health insurance; financial incentives; behavioural decisionmaking;

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References

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  1. O'Donoghue, Ted & Rabin, Matthew, 1997. "Doing It Now or Later," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt7t44m5b0, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  2. Laibson, David, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-77, May.
  3. James Choi & David Laibson & Brigitte Madrian & Andrew Metrick, 2005. "Optimal Defaults and Active Decisions," Levine's Bibliography 666156000000000488, UCLA Department of Economics.
  4. Ettner, Susan L., 1997. "Adverse selection and the purchase of Medigap insurance by the elderly," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(5), pages 543-562, October.
  5. Colm Harmon & Brian Nolan, 2001. "Health insurance and health services utilization in Ireland," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(2), pages 135-145.
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Cited by:
  1. Kiil, Astrid, 2012. "What characterises the privately insured in universal health care systems? A review of the empirical evidence," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 106(1), pages 60-75.
  2. Meliyanni Johar & Glenn Jones & Michael Keane & Elizabeth Savage & Olena Stavrunova, 2010. "Waiting times and the decision to buy private health insurance. CHERE Working Paper 2010/9," Working Papers 2010/9, CHERE, University of Technology, Sydney.
  3. Cheng, Terence Chai, 2014. "Measuring the effects of reducing subsidies for private insurance on public expenditure for health care," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 159-179.
  4. Buchmueller, Thomas C. & Fiebig, Denzil G. & Jones, Glenn & Savage, Elizabeth, 2013. "Preference heterogeneity and selection in private health insurance: The case of Australia," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 757-767.

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