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Effects of Recent Carrot-and-Stick Policy Initiatives on Private Health Insurance Coverage in Australia


  • Alfons Palangkaraya

    () (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne)

  • Jongsay Yong

    () (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne)


The Australian government implemented a sequence of new policy initiatives during 1997{2000 with a stated aim of raising the take-up rate of private health insurance (PHI). Taken together, it is quite clear that these new policy initiatives were effective. The overall proportion of Australian population with private health insurance cover increased by more than 35%. However, much less clear is the effctiveness of different components of the policies. This lacks of clarity results from the sequential implementation those policies. Because of the potentially large cost differences in their implementation, a better understanding of the each policy's effects can be valuable for future policymaking. This paper attempts to isolate the effects of those different policies using the 1995 and 2001 National Health Survey data. These two datasets allow the estimation of private health insurance demands before and after the policy changes. Consequently, they also allow for a counterfactual analysis of what would have happened had there been no new policies. Combined with the age-specific aspect Lifetime Health Cover (LHC), the counterfactual analysis indicates that the effects of LHC fall between 42% and 75% of the overall increase in PHI membership.

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  • Alfons Palangkaraya & Jongsay Yong, 2004. "Effects of Recent Carrot-and-Stick Policy Initiatives on Private Health Insurance Coverage in Australia," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2004n20, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  • Handle: RePEc:iae:iaewps:wp2004n20

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. Alfons Palangkaraya & Jongsay Yong, 2007. "How effective is “lifetime health cover” in raising private health insurance coverage in Australia? An assessment using regression discontinuity," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(11), pages 1361-1374.
    3. H.E. Frech Iii & Sandra Hopkins & Garry Macdonald, 2003. "The Australian Private Health Insurance Boom: Was It Subsidies Or Liberalised Regulation?," Economic Papers, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 22(1), pages 58-64, March.
    4. Cameron, A. Colin & Trivedi, Pravin K., 1991. "The role of income and health risk in the choice of health insurance : Evidence from Australia," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 1-28, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Stephanie Knox & Elizabeth Savage & Denzil Fiebig & Vineta Salale, 2007. "Joiners, leavers, stayers and abstainers: Private health insurance choices in Australia, CHERE Working Paper 2007/8," Working Papers 2007/8, CHERE, University of Technology, Sydney.
    2. Jongsay Yong & Alfons Palangkaraya & Elizabeth Webster & Peter Dawkins, 2006. "The Income Distributive Implications of Recent Private Health Insurance Policies in Australia," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2006n02, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
    3. Nathan Kettlewell, 2016. "Utilisation and Selection in an Ancillaries Health Insurance Market," Discussion Papers 2016-17, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
    4. Alfons Palangkaraya & Jongsay Yong & Elizabeth Webster & Peter Dawkins, 2009. "The income distributive implications of recent private health insurance policy reforms in Australia," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 10(2), pages 135-148, May.
    5. Randall Ellis & Elizabeth Savage, 2008. "Run for cover now or later? The impact of premiums, threats and deadlines on private health insurance in Australia," International Journal of Health Economics and Management, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 257-277, December.
    6. Moorin, Rachael Elizabeth & Holman, Cashel D'Arcy James, 2007. "Modelling changes in the determinants of PHI utilisation in Western Australia across five health care policy eras between 1981 and 2001," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 81(2-3), pages 183-194, May.
    7. Gong, Xiaodong & Gao, Jiti, 2015. "Nonparametric Kernel Estimation of the Impact of Tax Policy on the Demand for Private Health Insurance in Australia," IZA Discussion Papers 9265, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Moorin, Rachael Elizabeth & Holman, Cashel D'Arcy James, 2008. "The cost of in-patient care in Western Australia in the last years of life: A population-based data linkage study," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 85(3), pages 380-390, March.
    9. Roger Carrington & Tim Coelli & D.S. Prasada Rao, 2011. "Australian Private Health Insurance Productivity Growth: Is there Scope to Limit Premium Increases?," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 87(276), pages 125-139, March.
    10. Yicheng Kang & Xiaodong Gong & Jiti Gao & Peihua Qiu, 2016. "Error-in-Variables Jump Regression Using Local Clustering," Monash Econometrics and Business Statistics Working Papers 13/16, Monash University, Department of Econometrics and Business Statistics.
    11. Alex Robson & Henry Ergas & Francesco Paolucci, 2011. "The Analytics of the Australian Private Health Insurance Rebate and the Medicare Levy Surcharge," Agenda - A Journal of Policy Analysis and Reform, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics, vol. 18(2), pages 27-48.
    12. Thomas Buchmueller, 2008. "Community Rating, Entry-Age Rating and Adverse Selection in Private Health Insurance in Australia*," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan;The Geneva Association, vol. 33(4), pages 588-609, October.

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