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Tax Incentives and the Decision to Purchase Health Insurance: Evidence from the Self-Employed

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  • Gruber, J.
  • Poterba, J.

Abstract

The Tax Reform Act of 1986 introduced a new tax subsidy for health insurance purchases by self-employed persons. This paper analyzes the changing patterns of insurance demand before and after this reform to generate new estimates of how the after tax price of insurance affects the discrete choice of whether to buy insurance. We employ both traditional regression models for insurance demand, in which after-tax price of insurance is an explanatory variable. as well as nonparametric tests that compare changes in insurance purchases by self-employed individuals with the coincident changes for other groups. Our analysis suggests that I one percent increase in the cost of insurance coverage reduces the probability that a self-employed household will be insured by as much as 1.8 percentage points.
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Suggested Citation

  • Gruber, J. & Poterba, J., 1994. "Tax Incentives and the Decision to Purchase Health Insurance: Evidence from the Self-Employed," Working papers 94-10, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mit:worpap:94-10
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Woodbury, Stephen A & Hamermesh, Daniel S, 1992. "Taxes, Fringe Benefits and Faculty," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(2), pages 287-296, May.
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    6. Feldstein, Martin & Friedman, Bernard, 1977. "Tax subsidies, the rational demand for insurance and the health care crisis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 155-178, April.
    7. Gruber, J., 1992. "The Efficiency of a Group-Specific Mandated Benefit: Evidence from Health Insurance Benefits for Maternity," Working papers 92-19, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    8. Woodbury, Stephen A, 1983. "Substitution between Wage and Nonwage Benefits," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(1), pages 166-182, March.
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    Keywords

    health insurance ; decision making;

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