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Does free complementary health insurance help the poor to access health care? Evidence from France


  • Michel Grignon
  • Marc Perronnin

    (Institut de recherche et de documentation en économie de la santé (IRDES), Paris, France)

  • John N. Lavis


The French government introduced a 'free complementary health insurance plan' in 2000, which covers most of the out-of-pocket payments faced by the poorest 10% of French residents. This plan was designed to help the non-elderly poor to access health care. To assess the impact of the introduction of the plan on its beneficiaries, we use a longitudinal data set to compare, for the same individual, the evolution of his|her expenditures before-and-after enrolment in the plan. This before-and-after analysis allows us to remove most of the spuriousness due to individual heterogeneity. We also use information on past coverage in a difference-in-difference analysis to evaluate the impact of specific benefits associated with the plan. We attempt at controlling for changes other than enrolment through a difference-in-difference analysis within the eligible (rather than enrolled) population. Our main result is the plan's lack of an overall effect on utilization. This result is likely attributable to the fact that those who were enrolled automatically in the free plan (the majority of enrollees), already benefited from a relatively generous plan. The significant effect among those who enrolled voluntarily in the free plan was likely driven by those with no previous complementary coverage. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Michel Grignon & Marc Perronnin & John N. Lavis, 2008. "Does free complementary health insurance help the poor to access health care? Evidence from France," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(2), pages 203-219.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:17:y:2008:i:2:p:203-219 DOI: 10.1002/hec.1250

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Nathan Berg & Donald Lien, 2009. "Sexual orientation and self-reported lying," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 83-104, March.
    3. Thierry Debrand & Christine Sorasith, 2010. "Bouclier sanitaire : choisir entre égalité et équité ? Une analyse à partir du modèle ARAMMIS," Working Papers DT32, IRDES institut for research and information in health economics, revised Jun 2010.
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    5. Jakobsson, Niklas & Svensson, Mikael, 2016. "Copayments and physicians visits: A panel data study of Swedish regions 2003–2012," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 120(9), pages 1095-1099.
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    8. Doiron, Denise & Fiebig, Denzil G. & Suziedelyte, Agne, 2014. "Hips and hearts: The variation in incentive effects of insurance across hospital procedures," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 81-97.
    9. Dourgnon, Paul, 2013. "Evaluation des politiques publiques et inégalités sociales d'accès aux services de santé," Economics Thesis from University Paris Dauphine, Paris Dauphine University, number 123456789/12221 edited by Wittwer, Jérôme.
    10. Yiqiu, Wang & Maria, Porter & Songqing, Jin, 2016. "Estimating Effects of Health Insurance Coverage on Medical Service Utilization and Health in Rural China," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 235470, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    11. Tubeuf, S, 2008. "Income-related inequalities in self-assessed health: comparisons of alternative measurements of health," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 08/04, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    12. Omar Paccagnella & Vincenzo Rebba & Guglielmo Weber, 2013. "VOLUNTARY PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE AMONG THE OVER 50s IN EUROPE," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(3), pages 289-315, March.
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    15. Zeynep Or & Florence Jusot & Engin Yilmaz, 2008. "Impact of health care system on socioeconomic inequalities in doctor use," Working Papers DT17, IRDES institut for research and information in health economics, revised Sep 2008.
    16. Aoife Brick & Anne Nolan & Jacqueline O’Reilly & Samantha Smith, 2012. "Conflicting Financial Incentives in the Irish Health-Care System," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 43(2), pages 273-301.
    17. Geraci, A. & Fabbri, D. & Monfardini, C., 2014. "Testing exogeneity of multinomial regressors in count data models: does two stage residual inclusion work?," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 14/03, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    18. Perronnin, Marc, 2013. "Effet de l'assurance complémentaire santé sur les consommations médicales, entre risque moral et amélioration de l'accès aux soins," Economics Thesis from University Paris Dauphine, Paris Dauphine University, number 123456789/13659 edited by Wittwer, Jérôme.
    19. Michel Grignon & Bidénam Kambia-Chopin, 2009. "Income and the Demand for Complementary Health Insurance in France," Working Papers DT24, IRDES institut for research and information in health economics, revised Apr 2009.
    20. repec:dau:papers:123456789/7006 is not listed on IDEAS

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