Health Insurance Competition in Germany - The Role of Advertising
In the 1990s, competition among health insurance funds (‘sickness funds’) was introduced in Germany. As one means of competition, free choice of initial health funds and subsequent switching between them was made available to all insured. Since then, the number of funds has decreased substantially, and funds have had to engage in competitive strategies to remain in the market. In this paper, we want to analyse the funds’ advertising activities in the face of the changed competitive environment. This has not been possible to date due to a lack of data. We use two new datasets to get a first insight into the potential effects of competition on funds’ advertising strategies; one of the volume and cost of advertisements and one of their contents. Our results suggest that competition has been associated with an increase in the amount of advertising. As to the adverts themselves, we find that there was a decrease in the share of advertisements of a ‘general’ content in favour of advertisements of a more ‘fund-specific’ content. The data therefore indicate that once the market was open to switching of funds by the insured, funds’ advertising efforts changed to differentiating their own perceived strengths from those of competitor funds. These observations allow us to draw some tentative conclusions about the relevance of (attempts of) risk selection by health funds via advertisements and about the general success of the pro-competitive legislation.
|Date of creation:||Mar 2010|
|Date of revision:||Mar 2010|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU|
Phone: +44 (0) 1509 222701
Fax: +44 (0) 1509 223910
Web page: http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/sbe/research/economics/index.html
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Strombom, Bruce A. & Buchmueller, Thomas C. & Feldstein, Paul J., 2002. "Switching costs, price sensitivity and health plan choice," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 89-116, January.
- Gre[ss], Stefan & Groenewegen, Peter & Kerssens, Jan & Braun, Bernard & Wasem, Juergen, 2002. "Free choice of sickness funds in regulated competition: evidence from Germany and The Netherlands," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 235-254, June.
- Ettner, Susan L., 1996. "New evidence on the relationship between income and health," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 67-85, February.
- Friedrich Breyer & Mathias Kifmann, 2001. "Optionen der Weiterentwicklung des Risikostrukturausgleichs in der GKV," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 236, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
- Scherer, F.M., 2000. "The pharmaceutical industry," Handbook of Health Economics, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 25, pages 1297-1336 Elsevier.
- Van de ven, Wynand P.M.M. & Ellis, Randall P., 2000. "Risk adjustment in competitive health plan markets," Handbook of Health Economics, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 14, pages 755-845 Elsevier.
- Cutler, David M. & Zeckhauser, Richard J., 2000.
"The anatomy of health insurance,"
Handbook of Health Economics,
in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 11, pages 563-643
- Nelson, Phillip, 1970. "Information and Consumer Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(2), pages 311-329, March-Apr.
- Johannes Schwarze & Hanfried H. Andersen, 2001. "Kassenwechsel in der gesetzlichen Krankenversicherung: welche Rolle spielt der Beitragssatz?," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 267, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
- Oliver D. Hart, 1983. "The Market Mechanism as an Incentive Scheme," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 366-382, Autumn.
- Stefan Greß, 2002. "Freie Kassenwahl und Preiswettbewerb in der GKV: Effekte und Perspektiven," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 71(4), pages 490-497.
- Buchner, Florian & Wasem, Jurgen, 2003. "Needs for further improvement: risk adjustment in the German health insurance system," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 21-35, July.
- Nelson, Philip, 1974. "Advertising as Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(4), pages 729-754, July/Aug..
- Robert Nuscheler & Thomas Knaus, 2005. "Risk selection in the German public health insurance system," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(12), pages 1253-1271.
- Prem C. Jain & Joanna Shuang Wu, 2000. "Truth in Mutual Fund Advertising: Evidence on Future Performance and Fund Flows," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(2), pages 937-958, 04.
- George J. Stigler, 1961. "The Economics of Information," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 69, pages 213-213.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:lbo:lbowps:2010_05. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Huw Edwards)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.