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Can the Health Insurance Reforms stop an increase in medical costs of middle- and old-aged persons in Japan?

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Author Info

  • Tamie Matsuura

    (NLI Research Institute)

  • Masaru Sasaki

    ()
    (ISER, Osaka University)

Abstract

Using two-period panel data from the Nippon Life Insurance Research Institute, this paper tests the hypothesis that an increase in the self-pay ratio of medical expenditures associated with the Japanese health insurance reforms of April 2003 reduced individual medical costs. We find that the increase in the self-pay ratio of medical expenditures has a trivial effect on household medical expenses, implying that a decrease in the quantity demanded for medical services offsets the increase in medical costs. However, according to quantile regression estimates, an increase in the self-pay ratio of medical expenditures has a significantly positive effect on the share of medical costs for relatively high quantile values. This provides corroborating evidence that an increase in the self-pay ratio cannot cut the demand for medical services relatively more for those bearing a higher share of medical costs in household expenditure. An additional finding is that medical services are a necessity good, particularly for those with a relatively high share of medical costs in household expenditure.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP) in its series Discussion Papers in Economics and Business with number 10-13.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:osk:wpaper:1013

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Web page: http://www.econ.osaka-u.ac.jp/
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Keywords: health insurance; medical costs; Engle curve; middle- and old-aged persons; Japan;

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  1. Yoshida, Atsushi & Kawamura, Akira, 2009. "Who has benefited from the health services system for the elderly in Japan?," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 256-269, August.
  2. Mari Kan & Wataru Suzuki, 2006. "The demand for medical care in Japan: initial findings from a Japanese natural experiment," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(5), pages 273-277.
  3. Atsushi Yoshida & Shingo Takagi, 2002. "Effects of the Reform of the Social Medical Insurance System in Japan," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 53(4), pages 444-465.
  4. Zweifel, Peter & Manning, Willard G., 2000. "Moral hazard and consumer incentives in health care," Handbook of Health Economics, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 409-459 Elsevier.
  5. Jayanta Bhattacharya & William B. Vogt & Aki Yoshikawa & Toshitaka Nakahara, 1996. "The Utilization of Outpatient Medical Services in Japan," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(2), pages 450-476.
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