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The Effect of State Community Rating Regulations on Premiums and Coverage in the Individual Health Insurance Market

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  • Bradley Herring
  • Mark V. Pauly

Abstract

Some states have implemented community rating regulations to limit the extent to which premiums in the individual health insurance market can vary with a person�s health status. Community rating and guaranteed issues laws were passed with hopes of increasing access to affordable insurance for people with high-risk health conditions, but there are concerns that these laws led to adverse selection. In some sense, the extent to which these regulations ultimately affected the individual market depends in large part on the degree of risk segmentation in unregulated states. In this paper, we examine the relationship between expected medical expenses, individual insurance premiums, and the likelihood of obtaining individual insurance using data from both the National Health Interview Survey and the Community Tracking Study Household Survey. We test for differences in these relationships between states with both community rating and guaranteed issue and states with no such regulations. While we find that people living in unregulated states with higher expected expense due to chronic health conditions pay modestly higher premiums and are somewhat less likely to obtain coverage, the variation between premiums and risk in unregulated individual insurance markets is far from proportional; there is considerable pooling. In regulated states, we find that there is no effect of having higher expected expense due to chronic health conditions on neither premiums nor coverage. Overall, our results suggest that the effect of regulation is to produce a slight increase in the proportion uninsured, as increases in low risk uninsureds more than offset decreases in high risk uninsureds. Community rating and guaranteed issue regulations produce only small changes in risk pooling because the extent of pooling in the absence of regulation is substantial.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12504.

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Date of creation: Aug 2006
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12504

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  1. Thomas Buchmueller & John DiNardo, 1999. "Did Community Rating Induce an Adverse Selection Death Spiral? Evidencefrom New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut," NBER Working Papers 6872, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. 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.
  3. Bundorf, M. Kate & Pauly, Mark V., 2006. "Is health insurance affordable for the uninsured?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 650-673, July.
  4. S. Baranzoni & P. Bianchi & L. Lambertini, 2000. "Market Structure," Working Papers 368, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  5. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
  6. Davidoff, Amy & Blumberg, Linda & Nichols, Len, 2005. "State health insurance market reforms and access to insurance for high-risk employees," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 725-750, July.
  7. Deborah J. Chollet & Adele M. Kirk & Kosali Ilayperuma Simon, 2000. "The Impact of Access Regulation on Health Insurance Market Structure," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 4922, Mathematica Policy Research.
  8. Herring, Bradley, 2005. "The effect of the availability of charity care to the uninsured on the demand for private health insurance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 225-252, March.
  9. Rothschild, Michael & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1976. "Equilibrium in Competitive Insurance Markets: An Essay on the Economics of Imperfect Information," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 630-49, November.
  10. Herring, Bradley & Pauly, Mark V., 2006. "Incentive-compatible guaranteed renewable health insurance premiums," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 395-417, May.
  11. Frick, Kevin D, 1998. "Consumer Capital Market Constraints and Guaranteed Renewable Insurance," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 271-78, July-Aug..
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Cited by:
  1. Daniel McFadden & Carlos Noton & Pau Olivella, 2012. "Remedies for Sick Insurance," Working Papers 620, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  2. Jeffrey Clemens, 2012. "Regulatory Redistribution in the Market for Health Insurance," Discussion Papers 11-011, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  3. M. Kate Bundorf & Bradley Herring & Mark Pauly, 2005. "Health Risk, Income, and Employment-Based Health Insurance," NBER Working Papers 11677, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Connelly, Luke B. & Brown III, H. Shelton, 2008. "Lifetime Fairness? Taxes, Subsidies, Age-Based Penalties, and the Price of Health Insurance in Australia," MPRA Paper 14671, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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