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Does the reason for buying health insurance influence behaviour? CHERE Working Paper 2006/1

  • Denzil Fiebig


    (University of NSW)

  • Elizabeth Savage


    (CHERE, University of Technology, Sydney)

  • Rosalie Viney


    (CHERE, University of Technology, Sydney)

The inter-relationship between private health insurance cover and hospital utilisation is complex. The current policy approach in Australia appears to rely on relatively simple models of the relationships between health insurance coverage, and public and private hospital use. There is considerable evidence of unexplained heterogeneity among the privately insured population. Heterogeneity of preferences is likely to be important not just in determining the uptake of private health insurance, but also the impact of changes in private health insurance on the use of private treatment. A number of studies have used attitudinal variables to model heterogeneity of preferences in other contexts. This study uses the 2001 ABS National Health Survey to identify ?types? among the insured population using their stated reasons for purchasing private health insurance. We find that insurance type is significantly associated with hospital utilisation, particularly the probability of being admitted as a public or private patient. We also find that the government?s insurance incentives were more attractive to particular types of the insured population. This has implications for the effectiveness of the insurance incentives and for the design of policies that aim to reduce pressure on the public hospital system.

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Paper provided by CHERE, University of Technology, Sydney in its series Working Papers with number 2006/1.

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Date of creation: Jul 2006
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Handle: RePEc:her:chewps:2006/1
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  1. Ahn, N. & de la Rica, S. & Ugidos, A., 1998. "Willingness to Move for Work and Unemployment Duration in Spain," Papers 9801, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Y Financieros-.
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  8. Ika Darnhofer & Walter Schneeberger & Bernhard Freyer, 2005. "Converting or not converting to organic farming in Austria:Farmer types and their rationale," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 39-52, 03.
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  10. Vaithianathan, Rhema, 2002. "Will Subsidising Private Health Insurance Help the Public Health System?," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 78(242), pages 277-83, September.
  11. Denise Doiron & Glenn Jones & Elizabeth Savage, 2008. "Healthy, wealthy and insured? The role of self-assessed health in the demand for private health insurance," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(3), pages 317-334.
  12. Propper, Carol, 2000. "The demand for private health care in the UK," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(6), pages 855-876, November.
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  14. Jane Hall & Richard De Abreu Lourenco & Rosalie Viney, 1999. "Carrots and sticks-the fall and fall of private health insurance in Australia," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(8), pages 653-660.
  15. Propper, Carol, 1993. "Constrained choice sets in the U.K. demand for private medical insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 287-307, July.
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