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 University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 34189.
Date of creation: 19 Oct 2011
Date of revision:
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," Working Paper Series, Center for Fiscal Studies 2011:13, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
- I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
- G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies
- D91 - Microeconomics - - Intertemporal Choice - - - Intertemporal Household Choice; Life Cycle Models and Saving
- D52 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Incomplete Markets
- D58 - Microeconomics - - General Equilibrium and Disequilibrium - - - Computable and Other Applied General Equilibrium Models
- D60 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - General
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2011-10-22 (All new papers)
- NEP-CIS-2011-10-22 (Confederation of Independent States)
- NEP-DGE-2011-10-22 (Dynamic General Equilibrium)
- NEP-HEA-2011-10-22 (Health Economics)
- NEP-IAS-2011-10-22 (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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