Welfare costs of reclassification risk in the health insurance market
AbstractOne of the major problems of the U.S. health insurance market is that it leaves individuals exposed to reclassification risk. Reclassification risk arises because the health conditions of individuals evolve over time, while a typical health insurance contract only lasts for one year. A change in the health status can lead to a significant change in the health insurance premium. We study how costly this reclassification risk is for the welfare of consumers. More specifically, we use a general equilibrium model to quantify the implications of introducing guaranteed renewable contracts into the economy calibrated to replicate the key features of the health insurance system in the U.S. Guaranteed renewable contracts are private insurance contracts that can provide protection against reclassification risk even in the absence of consumer commitment or government intervention. We find that though guaranteed renewable contracts provide a good insurance against reclassification risk, the welfare effects from introducing this type of contracts are small. In other words, the presence of reclassification risk does not impose large welfare losses on consumers. This happens because some institutional features in the current U.S. system substitute for the missing explicit contracts that insure reclassification risk. In particular, a good protection against reclassification risk is provided through employer-sponsored health insurance and government means-tested transfers.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Uppsala University, Department of Economics in its series Working Paper Series, Center for Fiscal Studies with number 2011:13.
Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: 12 Dec 2011
Date of revision:
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Postal: Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P. O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Phone: + 46 18 471 25 00
Fax: + 46 18 471 14 78
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More information through EDIRC
health insurance; reclassification risk; dynamic insurance; guaranteed renewable contracts; general equilibrium;
Other versions of this item:
- Pashchenko, Svetlana & Porapakkarm, Ponpoje, 2011. "Welfare costs of reclassification risk in the health insurance market," MPRA Paper 34189, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- D52 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Incomplete Markets
- D58 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Computable and Other Applied General Equilibrium Models
- D91 - Microeconomics - - Intertemporal Choice - - - Intertemporal Household Choice; Life Cycle Models and Saving
- G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies
- I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2011-12-19 (All new papers)
- NEP-DGE-2011-12-19 (Dynamic General Equilibrium)
- NEP-HEA-2011-12-19 (Health Economics)
- NEP-IAS-2011-12-19 (Insurance Economics)
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Blog mentionsAs found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
- Reclassification risk in health insurance
by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2012-01-18 15:28:00
- Pashchenko, Svetlana & Porapakkarm, Ponpoje, 2013. "Cross-subsidization in employer-based health insurance and the effects of tax subsidy reform," MPRA Paper 48054, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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