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Testing for adverse selection into private medical insurance

  • Pau Olivella

    (Institute for Fiscal Studies)

  • Marcos Vera-Hernandez


    (Institute for Fiscal Studies and University College London)

We develop a test for adverse selection and use it to examine private health insurance markets. In contrast to earlier papers that consider a purely private system or a system in which private insurance supplements a public system, we focus our attention on a system where privately funded health care is substitutive of the publicly funded one. Using a model of competition among insurers, we generate predictions about the correlation between risk and the probability of taking private insurance under both symmetric information and adverse selection. These predictions constitute the basis for our adverse selection test. The theoretical model is also useful to conclude that the setting that we focus on is especially attractive to test for adverse selection. Using the British Household Panel Survey, we find evidence that adverse selection is present in this market.

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Paper provided by Institute for Fiscal Studies in its series IFS Working Papers with number W06/02.

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Length: 48 pp.
Date of creation: Jan 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ifs:ifsewp:06/02
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  22. Coulson, N Edward, et al, 1995. "Estimating the Moral-Hazard Effect of Supplemental Medical Insurance in the Demand for Prescription Drugs by the Elderly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 122-26, May.
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  25. Ettner, Susan L., 1997. "Adverse selection and the purchase of Medigap insurance by the elderly," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(5), pages 543-562, October.
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  27. Propper, Carol & Rees, Hedley & Green, Katherine, 2001. "The Demand for Private Medical Insurance in the UK: A Cohort Analysis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(471), pages C180-200, May.
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