Private Health Insurance Incentives in Australia: The Effects of Recent Changes to Price Carrots and Income Sticks
Three major policy tools govern the demand for private health insurance (PHI) in Australia: premium-related subsidies (i.e. PHI-rebate); income tax surcharges (i.e. the Medicare Levy Surcharge (MLS)); and lifetime community-rating (i.e. Lifetime Health Cover). The first two provide a system of “carrots and sticks” to create incentives for increasing the demand for PHI. The third creates incentives for consumers to purchase PHI earlier than they otherwise would have, and to maintain this coverage over time even when prices rise. This paper makes a number of contributions to the existing literature. We develop a diagrammatic model that incorporates income heterogeneity and use it to consider two important policy issues: the effect of policy changes on consumer price responsiveness, and the effect of policy changes on the PHI take-up rates. The model suggests that recent changes to the income tax surcharge are likely to reduce the price elasticity of demand for insurance, which could have further consequences for outcomes in the PHI market and the health system more generally. Increases in premiums will reduce take-up, but could worsen the government's budget position, even if tax revenues were to rise. Finally, we conduct numerical simulations to examine the possible effects of recent policy changes, which are aimed at further means-testing the PHI rebate and the MLS. The simulation results suggest that these recently adopted policy changes are likely to reduce the take-up of PHI as well as consumers’ responsiveness to future premium increases.
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.
Volume (Year): 37 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
|Contact details of provider:|| Web page: http://www.palgrave-journals.com/ |
|Order Information:|| Postal: Palgrave Macmillan Journals, Subscription Department, Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 6XS, UK|
Web: http://www.palgrave-journals.com/pal/subscribe/index.html Email:
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pal:gpprii:v:37:y:2012:i:4:p:725-744. 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: (Daniel Foley)
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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link 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 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.