Can the health insurance reforms stop an increase in medical expenditures for middle- and old-aged persons in Japan?
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 household medical expenditures. We find that the increase in the self-pay ratio had a positive but insignificant effect on the share of medical expenses in household expenditure. However, when we employ the data as repeated cross-sectional observations to increase the sample size, the increase in the self-pay ratio has a significantly positive effect on the share of medical expenditures. This provides corroborating evidence that middle- and old-aged persons were unable to reduce their demand for medical services with the increase in the self-pay ratio. An additional finding is that medical services are a necessary good, particularly for those aged 61 years or older and those with medical expenditures accounting for a relatively high share of medical expenditures in high household expenditure.
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Volume (Year): 12 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
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References listed on IDEAS
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- 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.
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- Finkelstein, Amy & McKnight, Robin, 2008. "What did Medicare do? The initial impact of Medicare on mortality and out of pocket medical spending," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(7), pages 1644-1668, July.
- David Card & Carlos Dobkin & Nicole Maestas, 2008. "The Impact of Nearly Universal Insurance Coverage on Health Care Utilization: Evidence from Medicare," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 2242-58, December.
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