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Consumer price sensitivity in health insurance


  • Machiel van Dijk

    () (CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis)

  • Marc Pomp

    (CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis)

  • Rudy Douven

    () (CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis)


This CPB Discussion Paper presents new estimates for the price elasticity of the residual demand for health insurance. This elasticity measures the loss in market share of a health insurer as a consequence of a unilateral increase in price, assuming other firms keep their prices constant. The main findings are as follows: the price elasticity of residual demand for social health insurance by enrollees was very low during the period 1996-2002. We find small but significant effects of the price of basic insurance but no robust effect of the price of supplementary insurance. Young enrollees are more price sensitive than older enrollees. However, these findings are conditional on the limited variation in price observed in our data. At larger price differentials, the elasticity may well be higher. This Discussion Paper is based on joint work of Machiel van Dijk, Marc Pomp, Rudy Douven (all three at CPB), Trea Laske-Aldershof, Erik Schut (both Erasmus University), Willem de Boer and Anne de Boo (Vektis). We would like to thank Marieke Smit (Vektis) for her help in getting this project off the ground. We would also like to thank Katie Carman (Tilburg University) for her comments on a previous draft of this paper.

Suggested Citation

  • Machiel van Dijk & Marc Pomp & Rudy Douven, 2006. "Consumer price sensitivity in health insurance," CPB Discussion Paper 56, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpb:discus:56

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Strombom, Bruce A. & Buchmueller, Thomas C. & Feldstein, Paul J., 2002. "Switching costs, price sensitivity and health plan choice," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 89-116, January.
    2. Schut, Frederik T. & Hassink, Wolter H. J., 2002. "Managed competition and consumer price sensitivity in social health insurance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 1009-1029, November.
    3. Anne Beeson Royalty & Neil Solomon, 1999. "Health Plan Choice: Price Elasticities in a Managed Competition Setting," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(1), pages 1-41.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rudy Douven & Marco Ligthart & H. Lieverdink & I. Vermeulen, 2007. "Measuring annual price elasticities in Dutch health insurance; a new method," CPB Discussion Paper 90, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms

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