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Physicians' balance billing, supplemental insurance and access to health care

  • Izabela Jelovac

    (GATE Lyon Saint-Etienne - Groupe d'analyse et de théorie économique - CNRS : UMR5824 - Université Lumière - Lyon II - École Normale Supérieure - Lyon)

Some countries allow physicians to balance bill patients, that is, to bill a fee above the one that is negotiated with, and reimbursed by the health authorities. Balance billing is known for restricting access to physicians' services while supplemental insurance against balance billing amounts is supposed to alleviate the access problem. This paper analyzes in a theoretical setting the consequences of balance billing on the fees setting and on the inequality of access among the users of physicians' services. It also shows that supplemental insurance against the expenses associated with balance billing, rather than alleviating the access problem, increases it.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Working Papers with number halshs-00787602.

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Date of creation: 12 Feb 2013
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Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-00787602
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: http://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00787602
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  1. Yaari, Menahem E, 1987. "The Dual Theory of Choice under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(1), pages 95-115, January.
  2. Thomas C. Buchmueller & Agnes Couffinhal, 2004. "Private Health Insurance in France," OECD Health Working Papers 12, OECD Publishing.
  3. Mathias Kifmann & Florian Scheuer, 2011. "Balance billing: the patients' perspective," Health Economics Review, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 1-14, December.
  4. Thomas C. Buchmueller & Agnès Couffinhal & Michel Grignon & Marc Perronnin, 2004. "Access to physician services: does supplemental insurance matter? Evidence from France," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(7), pages 669-687.
  5. Glazer, Jacob & Glazer, Jacob & McGuire, Thomas G., 1993. "Should physicians be permitted to 'balance bill' patients?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 239-258, October.
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