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The impact of private hospital insurance on the utilization of hospital care in Australia

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  • Damien S. Eldridge
  • Ilke Onur
  • Malathi Velamuri

Abstract

We use the Australian National Health Survey to estimate the impact of private hospital insurance on the propensity for hospitalization as a private patient. We account for the potential endogeneity of supplementary private hospital insurance purchases and calculate moral hazard based on a difference-of-means estimator. We decompose the moral hazard estimate into a diversion component that is due to an insurance-induced substitution away from public patient care towards private patient care, and an expansion component that measures a pure insurance-induced increase in the propensity to seek private patient care. Our results suggest that on average, private hospital insurance causes a sizable and significant increase in the likelihood of hospital admission as a private patient. However, there is little evidence of an expansion effect; the treatment effect of private hospital insurance on private patient care is driven almost entirely by the substitution away from public patient care towards private patient care. We discuss the implications for policies that aim to expand supplementary private insurance coverage for the purpose of reducing excess demand on the public healthcare system.

Suggested Citation

  • Damien S. Eldridge & Ilke Onur & Malathi Velamuri, 2017. "The impact of private hospital insurance on the utilization of hospital care in Australia," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(1), pages 78-95, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:49:y:2017:i:1:p:78-95
    DOI: 10.1080/00036846.2016.1192273
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

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    2. Yan Meng & Xueyan Zhao & Xibin Zhang & Jiti Gao, 2017. "A panel data analysis of hospital variations in length of stay for hip replacements: Private versus public," Monash Econometrics and Business Statistics Working Papers 20/17, Monash University, Department of Econometrics and Business Statistics.
    3. Aistov, Andrey V. (Аистов, Андрей) & Aleksandrova, Ekaterina A. (Александрова, Екатерина), 2018. "Ex Post Moral Hazard in Private Health Insurance [Постконтрактный Оппортунизм На Рынке Добровольного Медицинского Страхования]," Economic Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, vol. 3, pages 148-181, June.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • C35 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions

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