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Can the health insurance reforms stop an increase in medical expenditures for middle- and old-aged persons in Japan?

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  • Tamie Matsuura
  • Masaru Sasaki

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Abstract

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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Suggested Citation

  • Tamie Matsuura & Masaru Sasaki, 2012. "Can the health insurance reforms stop an increase in medical expenditures for middle- and old-aged persons in Japan?," International Journal of Health Economics and Management, Springer, vol. 12(2), pages 163-187, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:ijhcfe:v:12:y:2012:i:2:p:163-187
    DOI: 10.1007/s10754-011-9102-x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Sandra L. Decker, 2005. "Medicare and the Health of Women with Breast Cancer," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(4), pages 948-968.
    2. 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 2242-2258, December.
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    4. 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.
    5. Amy Finkelstein, 2007. "The Aggregate Effects of Health Insurance: Evidence from the Introduction of Medicare," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 1-37.
    6. Deaton,Angus & Muellbauer,John, 1980. "Economics and Consumer Behavior," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521296762, March.
    7. 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.
    8. Jayanta Bhattacharya & William B. Vogt & Aki Yoshikawa & Toshitaka Nakahara, 1996. "The Utilization of Outpatient Medical Services in Japan," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(2), pages 450-476.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Health insurance; Medical expenditures; Engle curve; Middle- and old-aged persons; Japan; I11; I18;

    JEL classification:

    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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