IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/aeq/aeqsjb/v130_y2010_i2_q2_p169-194.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Health Insurance Competition in Germany - the Role of Advertising

Author

Listed:
  • Bettina Becker
  • Silke Uebelmesser

Abstract

In the 1990s, competition among health insurance funds (‘sickness funds’) was introduced in Germany. As one means of competition, free choice of initial health funds and subsequent switching between them was made available to all insured. Since then, the number of funds has decreased substantially, and funds have had to engage in competitive strategies to remain in the market. In this paper, we want to analyse the funds’ advertising activities in the face of the changed competitive environment. This has not been possible to date due to a lack of data. We use two new datasets to get a first insight into the potential effects of competition on funds’ advertising strategies; one of the volume and cost of advertisements and one of their contents. Our results suggest that competition has been associated with an increase in the amount of advertising. As to the adverts themselves, we find that there was a decrease in the share of advertisements of a ‘general’ content in favour of advertisements of a more ‘fund-specific’ content. The data therefore indicate that once the market was open to switching of funds by the insured, funds’ advertising efforts changed to differentiating their own perceived strengths from those of competitor funds. These observations allow us to draw some tentative conclusions about the relevance of (attempts of) risk selection by health funds via advertisements and about the general success of the pro-competitive legislation.

Suggested Citation

  • Bettina Becker & Silke Uebelmesser, 2010. "Health Insurance Competition in Germany - the Role of Advertising," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 130(2), pages 169-194.
  • Handle: RePEc:aeq:aeqsjb:v130_y2010_i2_q2_p169-194
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.3790/schm.130.2.169
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers (2008 onwards); Pay-per-view access from http://www.genios.de (2000 onwards with 2 years moving wall) and http://ejournals.duncker-humblot.de/loi/schm (2008 onwards)

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Strombom, Bruce A. & Buchmueller, Thomas C. & Feldstein, Paul J., 2002. "Switching costs, price sensitivity and health plan choice," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 89-116, January.
    2. Johannes Schwarze & Hanfried H. Andersen, 2001. "Kassenwechsel in der gesetzlichen Krankenversicherung: welche Rolle spielt der Beitragssatz?," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 267, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    3. Oliver D. Hart, 1983. "The Market Mechanism as an Incentive Scheme," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 366-382, Autumn.
    4. Van de ven, Wynand P.M.M. & Ellis, Randall P., 2000. "Risk adjustment in competitive health plan markets," Handbook of Health Economics,in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 14, pages 755-845 Elsevier.
    5. Cutler, David M. & Zeckhauser, Richard J., 2000. "The anatomy of health insurance," Handbook of Health Economics,in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 11, pages 563-643 Elsevier.
    6. Stefan Greß, 2002. "Freie Kassenwahl und Preiswettbewerb in der GKV: Effekte und Perspektiven," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 71(4), pages 490-497.
    7. Gre[ss], Stefan & Groenewegen, Peter & Kerssens, Jan & Braun, Bernard & Wasem, Juergen, 2002. "Free choice of sickness funds in regulated competition: evidence from Germany and The Netherlands," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 235-254, June.
    8. Robert Nuscheler & Thomas Knaus, 2005. "Risk selection in the German public health insurance system," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(12), pages 1253-1271.
    9. Nelson, Phillip, 1970. "Information and Consumer Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(2), pages 311-329, March-Apr.
    10. Ettner, Susan L., 1996. "New evidence on the relationship between income and health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 67-85, February.
    11. Prem C. Jain & Joanna Shuang Wu, 2000. "Truth in Mutual Fund Advertising: Evidence on Future Performance and Fund Flows," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(2), pages 937-958, April.
    12. Friedrich Breyer & Mathias Kifmann, 2001. "Optionen der Weiterentwicklung des Risikostrukturausgleichs in der GKV," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 236, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    13. Scherer, F.M., 2000. "The pharmaceutical industry," Handbook of Health Economics,in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 25, pages 1297-1336 Elsevier.
    14. Buchner, Florian & Wasem, Jurgen, 2003. "Needs for further improvement: risk adjustment in the German health insurance system," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 21-35, July.
    15. Nelson, Philip, 1974. "Advertising as Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(4), pages 729-754, July/Aug..
    16. George J. Stigler, 1961. "The Economics of Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 69, pages 213-213.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Walter Krämer, 2011. "The Cult of Statistical Significance – What Economists Should and Should Not Do to Make their Data Talk," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 131(3), pages 455-468.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies
    • M37 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Marketing and Advertising - - - Advertising

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aeq:aeqsjb:v130_y2010_i2_q2_p169-194. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Gabriele Freudenmann). General contact details of provider: http://www.duncker-humblot.de .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.