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Moral hazard and the demand for health services: a matching estimator approach

  • Machado, Matilde P.
  • Sanz-de-Galdeano, Anna
  • Pita-Barros, Pedro

In this paper we estimate the impact of health insurance coverage beyond National Health Insurance on the demand for several health services. Traditionally, the literature has tried to deal with the endogeneity of the private (extra) insurance decision by finding instrumental variables. It is hard to think, however, of any variable that a priori would be a good instrument and, therefore, we take a different approach. We concentrate on the most common health insurance plan in the Portuguese Health Survey, (ADSE), which is given to all civil servants and their dependants. We argue that this insurance is exogenous for most people i.e. not correlated with their health status. Under this identifying assumption we estimate the impact of having ADSE coverage on three different health services using a matching estimator technique. The measures of demand for health services are number of visits, number of blood and urine tests, and the probability of visiting a dentist. Preliminary results show large effects of ADSE for number of visits and tests among the young (18 to 30 years old) but only for tests are these effects statistically significantly different from zero. The magnitude of the effects represent 21.8 and 30 percent of the average number of visits and tests for the young. On the contrary we find no evidence of moral hazard on the probability of visiting a dentist. Finally, we argue that there is evidence of a positive cumulative effect of ADSE over the years.

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Paper provided by Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía in its series UC3M Working papers. Economics with number we055928.

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Date of creation: Oct 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cte:werepe:we055928
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.eco.uc3m.es/

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  2. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00590713 is not listed on IDEAS
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  4. Imbens, Guido & Abadie, Alberto, 2008. "On the Failure of the Bootstrap for Matching Estimators," Scholarly Articles 3043415, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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  13. Savage, Elizabeth & Wright, Donald J., 2003. "Moral hazard and adverse selection in Australian private hospitals: 1989-1990," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 331-359, May.
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  15. Ángel Marcos Vera-Hernández, 1999. "Duplicate coverage and demand for health care. The case of Catalonia," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(7), pages 579-598.
  16. Sergi Jiménez-Martín & José M. Labeaga & Maite Martínez-Granado, 2002. "Latent class versus two-part models in the demand for physician services across the European Union," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(4), pages 301-321.
  17. Alberto Abadie & Guido W. Imbens, 2006. "Large Sample Properties of Matching Estimators for Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(1), pages 235-267, 01.
  18. Frank Windmeijer & Joao Santos Silva, 1996. "Endogeneity in count data models; an application to demand for health care," IFS Working Papers W96/15, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  19. Antonio Trujillo & Jorge Portillo & John Vernon, 2005. "The Impact of Subsidized Health Insurance for the Poor: Evaluating the Colombian Experience Using Propensity Score Matching," International Journal of Health Care Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 5(3), pages 211-239, September.
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