How individuals choose health insurance: An experimental analysis
An individual choosing a health insurance policy faces a complex decision environment where a large set of alternatives differ on a variety of dimensions. There is uncertainty and the choice is repeated at least once a year. We study decisions and decision strategies in a laboratory experiment where we create a controlled environment that closely mirrors this setting. We use an electronic information board that allows to carefully monitor the individual's decision strategy. The number of alternatives, switching costs, and the speed at which health deteriorates are varied across treatments. We find that most subjects' search is based more on attributes than on policies. Moreover, we find that an increase in the number of alternatives increases decision-making time; makes subjects consider a lower fraction of the available information; makes it more likely that subjects will switch; and decreases the quality of their decisions. The introduction of positive costs of switching makes people switch less often but improves the quality of their decisions. Finally, if health deteriorates only gradually, individuals tend to stick to their current policy too long.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- repec:feb:framed:0074 is not listed on IDEAS
- 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.
- Reinhard Selten & Abdolkarim Sadrieh & Klaus Abbink, 1999.
"Money Does Not Induce Risk Neutral Behavior, but Binary Lotteries Do even Worse,"
Theory and Decision,
Springer, vol. 46(3), pages 213-252, June.
- Selten, Reinhard & Abdolkarim Sadrieh & Klaus Abbink, 1995. "Money does Not Induce Risk Neutral Behavior, but Binary Lotteries Do even Worse," Discussion Paper Serie B 343, University of Bonn, Germany.
- Ariel Rubinstein, 2007. "Instinctive and Cognitive Reasoning: A Study of Response Times," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(523), pages 1243-1259, October.
- Ariel Rubinstein, 2006. "Instinctive and Cognitive Reasoning: A Study of Response Times," Discussion Papers 1424, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- Ariel Rubinstein, 2006. "Instinctive and Cognitive Reasoning: A Study of Response Times," Working Papers 2006.36, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
- Melissa W. Barringer & Olivia S. Mitchell, 1994. "Workers' Preferences among Company-Provided Health Insurance Plans," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 48(1), pages 141-152, October.
- Melissa W. Barringer & Olivia S. Mitchell, "undated". "Workers' Preferences Among Company-Provided Health Insurance Plans," Pension Research Council Working Papers 94-5, Wharton School Pension Research Council, University of Pennsylvania.
- Schut, Frederik T. & Hassink, Wolter H. J., 2002. "Managed competition and consumer price sensitivity in social health insurance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 1009-1029, November.
- Roger Feldman & Michael Finch & Bryan Dowd & Steven Cassou, 1989. "The Demand for Employment-Based Health Insurance Plans," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 24(1), pages 115-142.
- Short, Pamela Farley & Taylor, Amy K., 1989. "Premiums, benefits, and employee choice of health insurance options," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 293-311, December.
- Smith, Vernon L, 1976. "Experimental Economics: Induced Value Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(2), pages 274-279, May.
- Jan Kerssens & Peter Groenewegen, 2005. "Consumer preferences in social health insurance," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 6(1), pages 8-15, March.
- Gur Huberman & Wei Jiang, 2006. "Offering versus Choice in 401(k) Plans: Equity Exposure and Number of Funds," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 61(2), pages 763-801, April.
- Arthur Schram, 2005. "Artificiality: The tension between internal and external validity in economic experiments," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 225-237.
- Samuelson, William & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1988. "Status Quo Bias in Decision Making," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 7-59, March.
- Florian Heiss & Daniel McFadden & Joachim Winter, 2010. "Mind the Gap! Consumer Perceptions and Choices of Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans," NBER Chapters,in: Research Findings in the Economics of Aging, pages 413-481 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Florian Heiss & Daniel McFadden & Joachim Winter, 2007. "Mind the Gap! Consumer Perceptions and Choices of Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans," NBER Working Papers 13627, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Jason T. Abaluck & Jonathan Gruber, 2009. "Choice Inconsistencies Among the Elderly: Evidence from Plan Choice in the Medicare Part D Program," NBER Working Papers 14759, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- David M. Cutler & Sarah J. Reber, 1998. "Paying for Health Insurance: The Trade-Off between Competition and Adverse Selection," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(2), pages 433-466.
- Anne Beeson Royalty & Neil Solomon, 1999. "Health Plan Choice: Price Elasticities in a Managed Competition Setting," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(1), pages 1-41.
- Terrance Odean, 1999. "Do Investors Trade Too Much?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1279-1298, December.
- Johnson, Eric J. & Camerer, Colin & Sen, Sankar & Rymon, Talia, 2002. "Detecting Failures of Backward Induction: Monitoring Information Search in Sequential Bargaining," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 104(1), pages 16-47, May. Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:55:y:2011:i:6:p:799-819. 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: (Dana Niculescu)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.