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Private medical insurance and saving: evidence from the British Household Panel Survey

  • Guariglia, Alessandra
  • Rossi, Mariacristina

This paper uses the British Household Panel Survey for the years 1996 to 2000 to investigate whether individuals in the UK save for precautionary motives against uncertain medical costs. In particular, we test the hypothesis that those individuals who are not covered by private medical insurance, and who are therefore more exposed to facing unexpected health care expenditures or loss of income while waiting for treatment, tend to save more than those who are covered. According to our findings, which are based on a wide range of econometric specifications, there is a positive association between insurance coverage and saving, suggesting that private medical insurance does not crowd out private saving. This relationship is however weaker in areas where people feel the quality of medical facilities to be poor and in rural areas.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Health Economics.

Volume (Year): 23 (2004)
Issue (Month): 4 (July)
Pages: 761-783

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jhecon:v:23:y:2004:i:4:p:761-783
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  1. Michael G. Palumbo, 1999. "Uncertain Medical Expenses and Precautionary Saving Near the End of the Life Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(2), pages 395-421.
  2. Propper, Carol & Rees, Hedley, 2000. "The Demand for Private Medical Insurance in the UK: A Cohort Analysis," CEPR Discussion Papers 2513, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Lusardi, Annamaria, 1998. "On the Importance of the Precautionary Saving Motive," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 449-53, May.
  4. Christopher D. Carroll & Karen E. Dynan & Spencer D. Krane, 1999. "Unemployment risk and precautionary wealth: evidence from households' balance sheets," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 1999-15, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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  8. Besley, Timothy & Hall, John & Preston, Ian, 1999. "The demand for private health insurance: do waiting lists matter?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 155-181, May.
  9. Alessandra Guariglia, 2002. "Consumption, habit formation, and precautionary saving: evidence from the British Household Panel Survey," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(1), pages 1-19, January.
  10. Merrigan, Philip & Normandin, Michel, 1996. "Precautionary Saving Motives: An Assessment from UK Time Series of Cross-Sections," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(438), pages 1193-1208, September.
  11. Laurence J. Kotlikoff, 1986. "Health Expenditures and Precautionary Savings," NBER Working Papers 2008, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  13. Martin Browning & Annamaria Lusardi, 1996. "Household Saving: Micro Theories and Micro Facts," Discussion Papers 96-01, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
  14. Martha Starr-McCluer, 1994. "Health insurance and precautionary saving," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 94-10, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  15. Alessandra Guariglia & Byung-Yeon Kim, 2003. "The Effects of Consumption Variability on Saving: Evidence from a Panel of Muscovite Households," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 65(3), pages 357-377, 07.
  16. Karen E. Dynan, 1993. "How prudent are consumers?," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 135, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  17. R. Glenn Hubbard & Jonathan Skinner & Stephen P. Zeldes, 1994. "Precautionary Saving and Social Insurance," NBER Working Papers 4884, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Chou, Shin-Yi & Liu, Jin-Tan & Hammitt, James K., 2003. "National Health Insurance and precautionary saving: evidence from Taiwan," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(9-10), pages 1873-1894, September.
  19. Mark Kazarosian, 1997. "Precautionary Savings-A Panel Study," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(2), pages 241-247, May.
  20. James Banks & Richard Blundell & Agar Brugiavini, 1999. "Risk pooling, precautionary saving and consumption growth," IFS Working Papers W99/19, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  21. Miles, David, 1997. "A Household Level Study of the Determinants of Incomes and Consumption," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(440), pages 1-25, January.
  22. Giucca, P. & Jappelli, T. & Terlizzese, D., 1992. "Earning Uncertainty and Precautionary Saving," Papers 161, Banca Italia - Servizio di Studi.
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  24. Levin, Laurence, 1995. "Demand for health insurance and precautionary motives for savings among the elderly," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 337-367, July.
  25. Nickell, Stephen & Nicolitsas, Daphne, 1999. "How does financial pressure affect firms?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(8), pages 1435-1456, August.
  26. Alessie, Rob & Lusardi, Annamaria, 1997. "Saving and income smoothing: Evidence from panel data," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(7), pages 1251-1279, July.
  27. Christopher D. Carroll & Andrew A. Samwick, 1998. "How Important Is Precautionary Saving?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(3), pages 410-419, August.
  28. Stephen P. Zeldes, 1989. "Optimal Consumption with Stochastic Income: Deviations from Certainty Equivalence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 104(2), pages 275-298.
  29. Newey, Whitney K., 1987. "Efficient estimation of limited dependent variable models with endogenous explanatory variables," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 231-250, November.
  30. Propper, Carol, 2000. "The demand for private health care in the UK," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(6), pages 855-876, November.
  31. Gravelle, Hugh & Dusheiko, Mark & Sutton, Matthew, 2002. "The demand for elective surgery in a public system: time and money prices in the UK National Health Service," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 423-449, May.
  32. Alessandra Guariglia, 2001. "Saving behaviour and earnings uncertainty: Evidence from the British Household Panel Survey," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 14(4), pages 619-634.
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