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Prices vs. Quantities in Health Insurance Reimbursement

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  • F. Barigozzi

Abstract

I compare in-kind reimbursement (which fixes treatment quantities) and reimbursement insurance (which fixes treatment prices) as demandside, cost-containment measures. In the model, illness has a negative impact on labor productivity and public insurance is financed through labor income taxation. Consumers are heterogeneous with respect to intensity of preferences for treatment which is their private information. The social planner may be constrained to adopt uniform (pooling) allocations or may be free to choose discriminating (self selecting) allocations in the reimbursement plan. Analyzing pooling allocations I show that reimbursement insurance dominates in-kind reimbursement from a social welfare point of view. While considering self-selecting allocations I show that the two reimbursement methods are equivalent.

Suggested Citation

  • F. Barigozzi, 2003. "Prices vs. Quantities in Health Insurance Reimbursement," Working Papers 499, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  • Handle: RePEc:bol:bodewp:499
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Martin L. Weitzman, 1974. "Prices vs. Quantities," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(4), pages 477-491.
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    3. Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1987. "Pareto efficient and optimal taxation and the new new welfare economics," Handbook of Public Economics,in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 15, pages 991-1042 Elsevier.
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    5. Myerson, Roger B, 1979. "Incentive Compatibility and the Bargaining Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 61-73, January.
    6. Blomqvist, Ake & Horn, Henrik, 1984. "Public health insurance and optimal income taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 353-371, August.
    7. Alger, Ingela & Albert Ma, Ching-to, 2003. "Moral hazard, insurance, and some collusion," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 225-247, February.
    8. Varian, Hal R., 1980. "Redistributive taxation as social insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 49-68, August.
    9. Blackorby, Charles & Donaldson, David, 1988. "Cash versus Kind, Self-selection, and Efficient Transfers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 691-700, September.
    10. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz, 1997. "In-kind transfers, self-selection and optimal tax policy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 97-114, January.
    11. Besley, Timothy J., 1988. "Optimal reimbursement health insurance and the theory of Ramsey taxation," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 321-336, December.
    12. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz, 1995. "Uncertainty, Optimal Taxation and the Direct versus Indirect Tax Controversy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(432), pages 1165-1179, September.
    13. Zeckhauser, Richard, 1970. "Medical insurance: A case study of the tradeoff between risk spreading and appropriate incentives," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 10-26, March.
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